Also serving the communities of De Luz, Rainbow, Camp Pendleton, Pala and Pauma

Fallbrook Hospice adds pet visitation to its volunteer program

FALLBROOK – Fallbrook Hospice has three new volunteers, Misty, Mitzie and Scout. These three dogs have gone through extensive canine training, background checks, personal interviews and are now ready to make visits to Fallbrook Hospice patients wherever that patient calls home.

“These gentle visitors bring great joy and comfort to patients,” said Pat Smorzewski, RN and agency director/administrator of Fallbrook Hospice. “Simply petting a friendly dog can bring a smile and offer distraction from a life-limiting illness.”

Researchers have found that interaction with pets – even if they don’t belong to the person – can reduce anxiety, ease blood pressure and heart rate, and offset feelings of depression. Being around pets appears to feed the soul, promoting a sense of emotional connectedness and overall well-being. Many elderly people battle with depression and animal visitations can help bring a sense of peace.

Everyone has the need to touch. Many humans are uncomfortable hugging or touching strangers, or even those close to them. Some people are alone and have no hands to hold, no bodies to hug. Dogs can listen, give affection and be completely nonjudgmental.

The three dogs are Mitzie, a Shih Tzu; Misty, a poodle, and Scout, a Labrador retriever. Their owners are active Fallbrook Hospice volunteers who look forward to sharing their beloved pets with their clients.

Fallbrook Hospice can be reached at (760) 731-7741.


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