By Rob Dalton, guest blogger
I had never met anyone with Huntington’s disease, so I was a little anxious walking through the doors of the Good Samaritan’s Society Specialty Care Community in Robbinsdale, Minn. My mission was to meet residents Donna and Krystal, both amazing young women who were caught in the grip of this debilitating disease. I was creating a brochure and video for Huntington’s Hope, a non-profit organization that awards scholarships to children of parents living with Huntington’s disease, and these women had volunteered to be featured.
On my drive over, I imagined a very quiet and dimly lit, hospice-like setting. But within my first steps into the lobby, the Specialty Care Community proved to be quite the opposite.
Sophie ran up to greet me with “I’ve-been-waiting-for-you-all-morning” enthusiasm. That happy dog helped me relax immediately and feel at home. Within another minute, Chris Kline, Customer Experience Director, entered the scene. Chris and Sophie gave me a tour of the facility and introduced me to Donna, Krystal and other Huntington’s disease residents. While Chris pointed out features of the building, Sophie expertly traversed among the Huntington’s disease residents – making sure she gave lots of love and attention to everyone. Wherever Sophie went, a sense of happiness and home filled the room.It turns out, a growing number of psychologists, psychiatrists, therapists and physicians use dogs in their practices to help calm patients down or cheer them up. A Wall Street Journal article explains how a few minutes with a pet actually decreases stress hormones and increases hormones that govern nurturing and security.
Good Samaritan Society-Specialty Care Community has a mission which is to “share God’s love in word and deed.” One way to accomplish this and create a sense of home is to share a dog’s love.