Gabby and I met in April of 2009. It was a beautiful spring day. Our eyes met and we fell in love instantly. I knew I just had to have her and it was so hard to leave her at her breeder’s house until she was ready to come home.
I had done therapy dog work in the past and always wanted to do it again. It is a long process. You have to wait until the dog is one year old to go to school. So I began working with Gabby on my own at four months to see if she would be a good fit. She was a natural.
In October, we began school. Three months later, she passed her test with flying colors. We then went on to obedience school. Just like a kid, she took this on with less enthusiasm. I worked with Gabby every other day to keep her excited about her new “job,” taking her around the neighborhood and introducing her to everyone to get her well socialized.
Her first call was the Northeast Care Foundation for the Disabled. For two years, she has been visiting eight disabled men in a group home. At first, some of the men would not even speak or touch her. Now, they all call to her and come out of their rooms to see her.
She then moved on to serving the Parma Senior Adult Center for the Disabled once a week. She became so popular they have extended her term permanently to serve the center.
I contacted Crossroads Hospice in January of 2012 after seeing an ad in the Parma Sun Times for volunteers. I explained that I wanted to volunteer with a Certified Therapy Dog, which was something that Crossroads Hospice did not have at that time. Fortunately, they welcomed us into their program.
Gabby has truly become part of the Crossroads Hospice family. The patients just adore visiting with her. It actually becomes quite hard to leave a facility at the end of our time because everyone wants to visit with Gabby. She not only sees Crossroads patients but comes to the Crossroads office to offer staff therapy once a week.
She is very much at home at Crossroads. She is a happy and well-adjusted little puppy, and loves her work.
Genie Gordon and Gabby, her Cavalier King Charles Spaniel, have been volunteering with Crossroads Hospice for almost two years. Gabby’s enthusiasm and Genie’s calming presence have been a delight for patients and staff alike.