How Pets Make a Difference: Tucker and Mr. P

We often talk about the difference that a pet makes in the life of someone who is terminally ill. Pet Peace of Mind volunteer Mary Beth from Humboldt Hospice in California describes it beautifully in this story about Mr. P. and his dog Tucker. (She doesn't identify the patient by name in order to protect his privacy.)

"The hospice patient I'm currently visiting suffers deeply with loneliness. When his elderly dog died, it was an enormous loss to Mr. P. Within a short time, he had a new buddy named Tucker. The two quickly fell in love and trust. Tucker comforts the patient by simply being there. Tucker's jumping around from place to place enchants him and puts a long, wide smile on his face. When Tucker is ready to play, Mr. P. spins his electric wheelchair around to pick up the dog's favorite ball and throws it for him--again and again and again. He even seems to enjoy reprimanding Tucker when he barks at passing cars, pedestrians or any noise. He's proud of his "boy." Mr. P.  is comforted by Tucker's constant attention and those big brown eyes that watch his every move.
The relationship with Tucker elevates his spirits and enriches his life. Tucker is someone who cares that Mr. P. is alive, someone to get out of bed for, someone to love and interact with all his waking hours and someone who accepts him as he is. What Tucker brings to this man not only enhances his own life, but also faciliates the work of caregivers and eases the concerns of family and friends. I truly believe that the last months of Mr. P's life are easier, more secure and happier because of Tucker's presence. I cannot even imagine him being able to stay in his home alone without his loyal companion."

Thank you, Mary Beth, for this wonderful story! Can you tell how much this relationship has impacted her life? Becoming a Pet Peace of Mind volunteer can be a rewarding and enriching experience. If you are a pet lover and you would like to "pay it forward" to someone who might not have the help they need to care for a beloved pet---please check our website for more information about Pet Peace of Mind hospices in your area.