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“Howie the Hospice Dog” helps nurses, caregivers de-stress

Updated: Jun. 1, 2021 at 6:11 PM CDT
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ARDMORE, Okla. (KXII) - Working in hospice can be difficult, sometimes even heartbreaking, but Cross Timbers Hospice in Ardmore found a way to boost morale and save a shelter pet.

It all started when the workers found a dog in the parking lot.

“It’s not unusual for hospice workers to have a heart of caring,” Fryer said. “Whether its an animal or a person, and so just seeing his little face and thinking what if we brought him here and gave him a home.”

The dog stayed with them for several days, and they noticed something.

“Our executive director noticed how impactful having the dog in the facility was. And he suggested maybe we should get a dog.”

The first place they looked? The Ardmore Animal Care Facebook page.

“It’s not unusual for hospice workers to have a heart of caring,” Fryer said. “Whether its an animal or a person, and so just seeing his little face and thinking what if we brought him here and gave him a home.”

Soft and quiet with a gentle demeanor, Howie was the perfect fit for the job.

“I was the newest employee until Howie came along,” Fryer said. “Somebody said you know he needs a name badge and so our HR department made him a name badge.”

Right now Howie is helping the nurses and caregivers.

“They’re going into these homes with terminally ill patients, and they’re able to just have Howie here,” Fryer said. “To just have that release, lower the stress level and then go in the home and help patients.”

Soon he’ll be helping more members of the community.

“We plan on getting him certified for therapy so we can take him into the nursing homes and the assisted living or anywhere someone might want to meet Howie the Hospice Dog,” Fryer said.

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