Hope Comes with a Wet Nose

By Nate Gustafson, Brookdale Hospice Volunteer Coordinator ~

Joan Gabrielson and Odie.

Joan Gabrielson and Odie.

Hope comes along in many shapes and forms. It sounds like the perfect pitch of an old favorite song or appears in the stitches of a hand-made quilt. Have you considered how hope could come in the form of a wet nose?

Brookdale Hospice Volunteer Joan Gabrielson and her Therapy Dog Odie make weekly visits to the residents of Brookdale Meridian of Englewood. They visit residents receiving hospice care, staff members in need of some puppy love and spend time with residents who like to chat about the furry friends they miss.

On one occasion, Joan and Odie brought a dying man a special gift of hope from Odie’s wet nose and Joan’s special care.

During what became their last visit, Joan picked Odie up and laid him on the bed next to the dying man. Then his wife came into the room and they pet Odie together, while the wife recalled stories from their marriage of over 60 years.

Petting Odie and going down memory lane was the last visible and meaningful interaction the dying man had with his wife and anyone else before he died.

The timing was perfect for Joan and Odie’s visit. They didn’t realize that day was going to be their last visit, but they made the most of their moments together.

Odie’s wet nose returns week after week to comfort women and men in need of a little hope. Brookdale Hospice provides excellent end of life care across the Denver Metro area. We are proud to be a part of the Brookdale Senior Living Corporation that operates Brookdale Meridian of Englewood, a continuing care retirement community. If you would like to find out how to volunteer with Brookdale Hospice of Denver or learn more about hospice care for a loved one, you can reach out to Brookdale Hospice at 303.771.3304.