Dwight the Therapy Dog (FETCH Feature)
At FETCH a Cure, we encounter quite a few dogs and cats. Through our Companions in Crisis (CIC) and Pixie’s Pen Pals programs, we have helped hundreds of animals. What many people don’t think about, however, is that when an animal becomes a CIC Recipient or a Pen Pals participant, they become part of the FETCH a Cure family. That doesn’t end when they leave our programs. We have built a community in which families stay connected with us long after their original participation. We love seeing pictures of their new lives and keeping up with how they are doing, and we want to share that with everyone. So, we will be posting weekly FETCH Features about our animals. These will include Pen Pals dog alumni, past CIC recipients, and dogs that are currently up for adoption through the Pen Pals program.
Meet Dwight, a Pen Pals alum!
FETCH a Cure pulled Dwight, a sweet hound dog, from the Southside SPCA in 2016 and put him into one of the prisons in our Pixie’s Pen Pals program. Right away, his gentle and polite nature stood out, and he and his handler received Canine Good Citizenship certification, which the American Kennel Club considers the “gold standard of behavior for dogs in our community.”
Around the same time, Anita, a former occupational therapist, was grieving the loss of her beloved dog, Trudy. Trudy helped Anita when she suffered a life-altering illness in 2010, and had been by her side as she recovered. While she knew that no dog could replace Trudy, Anita was ready to adopt another furry friend.
Dwight the Therapy Dog
Dwight & Mr. M
Mr. M: “What day is it today?”
Anita: “Wednesday! Dwight comes on Wednesdays.”
Mr. M: (grinning) Best day ever.
During their first visit in November 2018, Anita noticed that one resident in particular, Mr. M, was enamored with Dwight. “He kept petting him and asked me several times to bring him back again,” recalls Anita. The following week, while petting Dwight, he asked Anita what day it was. “Wednesday!” she replied. “Dwight comes on Wednesdays.” He grinned widely and responded, “Best day ever.”
Each week, Anita says, Dwight will lead her to the activity room and immediately walk up to Mr. M. She gives Mr. M a spoonful of peanut butter to give Dwight, a ritual that they both love. While Mr. M may not always remember the day of the week, his face always lights up when he sees his furry friend. He even has Dwight’s Christmas card (a picture of him with Santa) hanging up in his room.
Their visits are short to avoid over-stimulation for both Dwight and the residents, but Dwight is the star of the show when he is there. He even ends each visit by singing a song, which you can hear in the video below. We are so proud to see the incredible work that Dwight is doing!
Thank you to Anita, Dwight, Lynn Marchant, and the staff and residents of The Pearl for taking the time to work with us!
PS: You can follow Dwight’s life on his blog, Dear Dwight!