It's a dog's life at Westview

Staff writer

There’s nothing more heartwarming for a pet lover than spending time with their beloved pet.

The positive effect animals have for patients at nursing homes has been more recognized in recent years, leading to the facilities being more inviting to animals.

“We have a resident who has a dog that lives here,” Bonita Robertson-Bradley, administrator of Westview Manor in Peabody, said.

Koffie, a 17-month-old dachshund, rooms in with her owner, Forest Poulin, and brings delight to the nursing home.

Poulin said he paid $800 for her at Chisholm Trail True Value in Newton.

A baby gate prevents Koffie from running off down the hall — except when she’s allowed to enjoy a gallop that entertains everyone.

“The residents stop at her gate and pet her,” Robertson-Bradley said. “They love her.”

One resident kept a parakeet in her room, she said.

“It’s a good thing for them,” she said. “It gives them someone to depend on them, and it brightens everyone else’s day, too.”

Cats hang around Westview as well. Neighborhood cats that gather at the doors and try to come inside have been taken to the vet for shots so they are safe to be near residents.

The facility is permissive about pets coming to visit as long as they are current on shots and not aggressive, she said. Pets can be brought in by friends, relatives, and staff.

“I did draw the line when we had an employee who wanted to bring in a snake,” she said. “I said no.”

Julie Grill, director of human resources and marketing for Salem Home in Hillsboro, said not only are relatives allowed to bring pets to visit, pets have lived in the courtyard as well.

“We try to bring as much as we can from home so they don’t feel like they are ‘not at home,’” Grill said. “We’ve had pet ducks and pet rabbits that have run around in our covered courtyard. We have a member of the community who has sometimes brought in a pig.”

The residents also enjoy an aviary with birds.

Sometimes pets are the entertainment of the day at Salem Home.

“We once had a dog show where residents’ families and staff brought in pets and the residents got to see them,” Grill said.

Although pets are allowed at Salem Home, some caution also applies.

“If you have someone who is scared of dogs, you have to be cautious about who you let in,” she said.

Amanda Kerr, director of nursing at Peabody Health and Rehab, said the facility allows pets to come in and visit. Activity director Paula Edmunds brings her own dog to work with her several times per week.

“She goes to different activities with her and the dog does little tricks and the residents just love it,” Kerr said.

Residents coming to the center long-term can have relatives bring their pets to visit them, she said.

Last modified Nov. 23, 2016

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