Head scratches, treats and playtime – it’s all part of a day in the life of Journey, a three-year-old chocolate lab/ shepherd mix, who recently found a full time job at The Springs at Monarch Landing, thanks to his owner, Melissa Hegg- who’s the Human Resource Assistant there as well.
“He lives with me at home, he has a brother at home, so he gets to go home and be a normal dog. And then he comes with me to work everyday, usually in the morning he’ll be with me and as I’m running errands he gets to say ‘hi’ to residents and then in the afternoon he comes with Kylie to visit residents of The Springs,” said Melissa Hegg, Journey’s owner.
As a trained group therapy dog, Journey spends his days roaming the halls of Monarch Landing with other program leaders to help get residents active and engaged.
“I’ll take Journey around with me, usually I’ll do groups, either games, or reminiscing activities to stimulate the brain, and with those, Journey is just always with me, will usually go around and say ‘hi’ to everyone and then eventually settle down,” said Kylie Edmonds, Life Enrichment Assistant at The Springs at Monarch Landing.
And the residents don’t mind having a furry friend to spend their afternoons with.
“I talk to him, he’s my friend,” said Loraine Wallis, a resident at The Springs at Monarch Landing. “I like dogs and I don’t have any anymore, so this way I get to have a dog.”
But the visits don’t just lift spirits, they also boost health.
“They’ve had studies that show that petting a dog relieves stress, lowers blood pressure, a lot of medical benefits but also just that sense of companionship,” said Hegg.
A helpful paw to make the days a little brighter.
Naperville News 17’s Alyssa Bochenek reports.
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