Archive for Sunday, October 3, 2010

Service dog a faithful friend to residents

October 3, 2010

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Carol Floersch sits with Rally, a service dog who has been visiting Presbyterian Manor with chaplain Dottie Scholtz. Rally was trained specifically for ministerial purposes and working with the elderly.

Carol Floersch sits with Rally, a service dog who has been visiting Presbyterian Manor with chaplain Dottie Scholtz. Rally was trained specifically for ministerial purposes and working with the elderly.

Rally, a certified service dog for ministerial purposes, mingles with residents and staff at Presbyterian Manor last month. From left are resident Carol Floersch, health services LPN Kristin Morrell, and chaplain Dottie Scholtz, Rally's owner. Rally started making the rounds with Dotty about six weeks ago when she started as chaplain at the facility.

Rally, a certified service dog for ministerial purposes, mingles with residents and staff at Presbyterian Manor last month. From left are resident Carol Floersch, health services LPN Kristin Morrell, and chaplain Dottie Scholtz, Rally's owner. Rally started making the rounds with Dotty about six weeks ago when she started as chaplain at the facility.

Service dog bringing smiles to residents

A special service dog is bringing smiles to a local retirement community. The residents enjoy playing with the dog and petting it, while staff say the dog brightens their days. Enlarge video

Carol Floersch enjoys living at Presbyterian Manor but until recently, she lacked something very important in her life — animals.

But that changed six weeks ago when Dottie Scholtz became chaplain.

With Scholtz came Rally, her faithful service dog. Rally, a 10-year-old golden retriever, has become something special to Floersch and other residents.

“The very first day I saw her she came right to the place where I was sitting and gave me her paw, and I just couldn’t believe how friendly and loving she was,” Floersch said. “It made me think about my 20-year-old dog that I had lost recently and hadn’t been able to bring here, so I was glad to have a dog around again.”

Certified at Princeton with NEADS (National Education for Assistance Dog Services), Rally was trained as a service dog for ministerial purposes and working with the elderly.

Scholtz said that she knew she wanted a dog she could use to help the disabled and that Rally was the perfect match. At Presbyterian Manor, Rally has a primary mission — to give unconditional love. So far, she has accomplished that and more.

“Love and companionship are important when working with the elderly,” Scholtz said. “Rally gives them that and more. She wants to greet them — she becomes theirs, too.”

Scholtz said Rally can definitely sense when a resident is sad or something is wrong.

“She relates to them,” Scholtz said. “She’ll walk up and put her head on their lap or stay by their side, and you can just see their faces light up.”

Floersch has had many such times with Rally.

“She’s so kind and gentle and friendly — she just makes you feel good when you’re around her,” Floersch said.

For Floersch and the other residents, a paw, a kiss, a hug or just Rally’s company can make a big difference in their day.

Comments

ForThePeople 4 years, 8 months ago

Very nice story. I believe elderly nursing/retirement homes should re-evaluate the no pets deal, as dogs in particular can be very theraputic.

mr_right_wing 4 years, 8 months ago

Why are we not more inclusive? Why are there not 'service cats'?? Pigs are supposedly more intelligent than both...what about a 'service pig'? We need to learn to embrace and respect all species. Tolerance and acceptance shouldn't end with human beings.

kristyj 4 years, 8 months ago

Brandon Woods has a few very nice cats roaming around.

chrisanne 4 years, 8 months ago

Very nice article -- however, I would point out that under the Americans with Disabilities Act, a service dog is a dog trained for an individual with a disability, to mitigate that disability. What is described here is what is known as a "therapy" or ESA (emotional support animal.) I would also point out that under the law, therapy dogs are NOT given public access as service dogs are.

The ADA also has recently changed to say that ONLY dogs are recognized as service animals.

kernal 4 years, 8 months ago

Some retirement/nursing homes do allow residents to bring their cats or dogs with them as long as they are litter box trained or house broken. It's not only therapeutic for the residents, but often for the employees as well. It's good for the pets as well, because they get to stay with their owners and also get TLC from others as well.

Smithcat 4 years, 8 months ago

The ministry dogs trained by NEADS never have, nor ever will, meet the legal definition of "service dog" as set forth by the US Department Of Justice under the terms contained in the Americans With Disabilities Act. While the theraputic benefits of the ministry dogs are indeed measurable, none of the NEADS ministry dogs can be legally called or used as service dogs unless the individual handler is a person with a qualifying disability and the dog has been trained specifically to mitigate the individual handlers disability. At best, this dog could be considered a therapy dog or an Emotional Support Animal (ESA), but in no way meets the legal criteria to be considered a service dog. NEADS has been informed that their ministry dogs do not legally qualify as service dogs (I have an email reply from their director of training attesting to this fact), but still has not aligned their policies with the law in regards to this issue. NEADS is being decietful and dishonest about the legal terminology surrounding their dogs, and therefore cannot be trusted concerning any of their statements about their dogs or their training.

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