North Central News

Resilience, love turn stray into therapy pet

When North Central Phoenix resident Ann Roseman adopted Maggie from Arizona Humane Society’s Sunnyslope campus in July of 2017, her main goal was to restore the physical and emotional health of the 2-year-old Rottweiler.

Roseman, a volunteer coordinator for Hospice of the Valley’s Pet Connections program and her fiancé felt an instant connection with the injured stray dog.

“As soon as we met her and even before taking her out of her kennel, we recognized Maggie as a sweet soul with a gentle, loving temperament,” Roseman said. “Though clearly stressed and very skinny, all she wanted was to look in our eyes and be petted. We were sold, even despite her worrisome limp. We adopted her on the spot.”

Maggie had no experience on a leash, and on short walks, she was scared of everything — bikes, cars, garbage cans, “even tall men in hats,” Roseman recalled.

Maggie’s limp turned out to be a torn ACL and Hospice of the Valley and the Arizona Humane Society worked closely to figure out how to help finance her surgery and rehab. Eventually, Maggie was well enough to begin 18 months of obedience training. She “sailed through the testing” with Alliance of Therapy Dogs, Roseman said proudly and became a credentialed therapy dog this summer.

Roseman and Maggie recently made their first official visit as a pet therapy team recently — at the Beatitudes Campus at 1610 W. Glendale Ave. They headed straight to Beatitudes’ advanced memory care floor for dementia patients.

That’s where Hospice of the Valley registered nurse Cheryl Haynes and social worker Michelle Bales run a program for dementia patients called Engaging the Senses, with the loving support of volunteer John Beshears. While patients enjoyed “flea market” activities, Roseman and Maggie made the rounds.

“Good morning! Would you like to see my dog?” Roseman asked one patient at a time. “She’s a good girl. She loves pink!”

The room filled with smiles. Maggie got lots of compliments. “She’s beautiful!” one patient said. “She’s a big dog!” another remarked.

A therapy pet is “soothing and calming,” Haynes explained and patients seem more relaxed after petting or hugging a dog.

Roseman couldn’t be happier to see Maggie join Pet Connections after two years of hard work. Instead of watching other pet therapy teams bring joy to Hospice of the Valley patients and families, they can now experience the happiness firsthand.

 

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