Timbers residents enjoy canine companyPublished 5:10pm Monday, June 10, 2013
Three o’clock on Sunday, as church lets out, is tail-waggin’ time at The Timbers.
Reggie, in a tiny Uncle Sam top hat, two Boston terriers and a golden retriever make their rounds.
All are wearing red, white and blue in honor of the upcoming Fourth of July holiday.
The pooches provide a therapeutic lift for residents whose eyes light up as they pet their visitors.
Some stash Milk-Bones in their drawers in anticipation of slipping their four-footed friends a biscuit treat each month.
“They’re happy to see us. We’ve been told a lot of residents hadn’t talked or smiled in weeks until having the pets here,” said Sherri Zablocki. “This is our first year. I started with Jan (Morgenthau of Niles, who provides pet therapy across Michiana, including West Woods and Silverbrook in Niles, Healthwin in South Bend and Hamilton Grove in New Carlisle, Ind). Jan’s been doing it a long time. Helen (Hartman, leading Odin, who is frequently mistaken for Murphy, the activities director’s dog) heard about it from an article about Jan in the paper. Jan directed her to call me because she lives in Dowagiac. Dogs have to be up to date with shots and be able to get along with other dogs. We hop around, and it’s all volunteer. If you can’t make one, we don’t frown on that. We do September to May at Timbers. Jan makes up all the schedules and emails them to us.”
Zablocki, who works at Creative Foam, has also brought her rabbit, Chester, and a co-worker’s baby goat.
“They also brought two pet chickens,” Zablocki said.
If you are interested in providing pets — particularly if you have a lap dog — when the program returns this fall, contact Zablocki at (269) 782-3998 or Morgenthau at (269) 684-3996.