Volunteers come in all shapes and sizes. Some even come in pairs or with four legs. Samantha Schmidt and her pup Rocket are one of our most unique volunteer teams.
Samantha’s interest in hospice grew from her previous work as a CNA. She saw hospice volunteers in action at the facility and admired how they were able to spend quality time with a patient. They were friendly and warm, and she knew when things slowed down in her hectic life, she would be one of those volunteers.
After a job change and condensed work schedule, Samantha attended training in March of last year. Since then she has visited seven different patients at a long-term care facility just five miles from her home.
“It makes me happy to see the joy my volunteering gives the patients. I also really enjoy taking the time in my week to slow down and just enjoy the simple things in life and listen to other people’s stories,” explains Samantha.
Several of the patients Samantha sees every other week enjoy a pet visit with her co-volunteer, Rocket. Everyone lights up when this Australian cattle dog enters the room. Samantha recalls one of her patients, who is often unresponsive, surprised her by reaching out to pet him before Samantha had a chance to say hello. It was like she sensed his presence. Once the patient felt Rocket, her eyes opened and a grin grew across her face.
“She was so happy to see us that day and it seemed as though she and Rocket had developed this unseen bond between each other,” recalls Samantha.
In-between working at the KCS Railroad as a Critical Incident Coordinator and volunteering for Crossroads, Samantha enjoys a full life with her husband and two dogs, Rocket and Dottie. She is also a commercial-licensed pilot and continues to fly small planes for leisure.
“I don’t know what makes me happier – seeing the smile on my patients face or knowing that I played a part in putting that smile there,” says Samantha.
One thing is for sure, Crossroads and our patients benefit from Samantha’s compassion and Rocket’s eagerness to please.
For more information about volunteering with Crossroads Hospice, please visit the Got 45? app on our Facebook page to be connected with a Volunteer Manager near you.
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