Marty Letourneau always had an interest in doing pet therapy work, so when Stanton came into her life, it was the perfect opportunity to begin this journey. Stanton is a 10-year-old black Lab/Golden cross with a very calm and comforting demeanor. Together, they have been doing pet therapy and R.E.A.D. (Reading Education Assistance Dog) visits for over 8 years.
“It has been so rewarding to see how a visit with a friendly dog can mean so much to people who enjoy and perhaps miss their pets,” says Marty. “We receive so much more than we give.”
Over the years, she has seen firsthand how people will relate to dogs when they do not, or cannot, with other people. The dogs seem to sense this need and, therefore, most times bond easily. “To see someone’s face light up with a big smile when we enter a room is wonderful. We know we have made a difference in their life that day,” adds Marty.
A year ago, Marty’s Mom became seriously ill. The family chose Catholic Community Hospice for end-of-life care. In addition to the staff, volunteers visited and provided comfort to not only her Mom, but the entire family. After her Mom passed away, Marty began thinking about how being a pet therapy team volunteer would be a nice way to return all that was given to her family by the Hospice volunteers. She says, “I am so glad we are able to do this and perhaps bring some joy to those in Hospice and their families.”
To learn more about Catholic Community Hospice’s volunteer opportunities, visit our Volunteer Page.