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By JoEllen Black/Richmond News
Santa wasn’t the only special guest last week at Shirkey Nursing and Rehabilitation Center.
Syd, an outgoing Maltese female, brought a lot of smiles and a big laugh from Shirkey resident Eula “Boots” Smith as Syd was placed in her lap. Syd’s owner, Mary Noblitt, also had an additional surprise for Smith: a basket of Maltese puppies were given to her to see. Smith, a former dog owner, said she enjoyed the visit.
“You like being the center of attention?” she asked Syd, dressed with a pink bow atop her head with a matching sweater.
On that day, Sophie, a pug, also came in for a short visit. Some residents reached out to give her a pat and a scratch under her ears.
“Sophie loves everybody and is a happy dog,” said her owner Julie White.
She’s just beginning her new career as a pet therapy dog. Last Friday was her first encounter at Shirkey’s. Sophie and her owner had to go through a five-hour training session and pass a background check before they could become volunteers, according to Bill Purcell, Shirkey Hospice and Palliative Care volunteer coordinator.
Shirkey Hospice and Palliative Care is looking for additional volunteers for its pet therapy area. Those who are interested can contact Purcell at 816-776-5403 ext. 25.