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When a Dog Makes a Difference at the End of Life

Therapy dogs can comfort people in hospice as well as their families

By Shayla Thiel Stern and The John A. Hartford Foundation

(Editor’s note: This story is part of a special report for The John A. Hartford Foundation.)

Even on the darkest of days, seeing a photo of Bailey, a 2-year-old Golden Retriever, can bring a smile to  your face.

Her owner, Holly Parker of Chanhassen, Minn., realized early on that her dog was special. After going through obedience classes with her, Parker said she wondered whether taking pet therapy classes together might provide both of them with a nice outlet for serving others. She is now a member of North Star Therapy Animals, which offers hospice therapy. Not all hospice organizations offer pet therapy, so if having a furry friend with you at the end of life is important to you, be sure to let your family know.

Watch our video to learn more about Bailey:

Shayla Thiel Sternis the former Director of Editorial and Content for Next Avenue at Twin Cities PBS. Read More
The John A. Hartford Foundation
By The John A. Hartford Foundation

The John A. Hartford Foundation is a private, nonpartisan, national philanthropy dedicated to improving the care of older adults. The leader in the field of aging and health, the Foundation has three priority areas: creating age-friendly health systems, supporting family caregivers, and improving serious illness and end-of-life care.

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