Therapy Dog Promotes Stress Relief at Geneva Senior Living

Therapy dog promotes stress relief at Geneva senior living community – Shaw Local

Two to three times a week, Dr. Grizzly Bear, also called Grizzly or Grizzly Bear, wakes up and puts on his “uniform” to bring joy and laughter to the GreenFields of Geneva senior living community.

Grizzly Bear is a 4-year-old mini Goldendoodle and a certified therapy dog. He received his certification two years ago from WoofBeach in Geneva, and ever since, he has been brought into GreenFields to connect with the community. Whenever he goes to visit the residents, he dons his “uniform,” which is a special therapy dog vest.

GreenFields of Geneva residents Bob and Judie Knott pet Grizzly Bear as Grizzly Bear’s owner and handler Leslie Paquette looks on. Paquette is the life services manager at the senior living community and had her 4-year-old mini golden doodle trained to be a therapy dog.

“[Grizzly Bear] always had a very calm and loving demeanor,” said Leslie Paquette, Grizzly Bear’s owner and the life services manager at GreenFields. “I thought he would make a good therapy dog.”

Along with being a therapy dog, Grizzly Bear went through basic obedience training and received his Canine Good Citizen certification. His training and certifications have helped him interact with the GreenFields residents.

“He helps more than just the residents,” Paquette said. “He also visits with the associates. He brings joy and makes people feel happy and relaxed. People love to pet him.”

GreenFields’ residents have gotten to know Grizzly Bear and some will even request to visit with him. Paquette will sometimes bring Grizzly to other assisted living communities in the area.

GreenFields of Geneva resident Judie Knott visits with therapy dog Grizzly Bear, a 4-year-old mini golden doodle. Grizzly Bear is owned by GreenFields Life Services Manager Leslie Paquette.

He seems to relax all the residents he visits with.

“Residents look for him or ask for him a lot,” Paquette said. “He’s a nice morale boost for everyone. Just as many staff members want to see him as residents do. When people are with him, they’ll talk about their day and lovingly talk about their own pets. They’ll say, ‘I need therapy,’ and will just pet him and talk to him. He brings joy.”

Jane Blazek, a resident of GreenFields, has bonded with Grizzly Bear and finds his company relaxing. She tries to see him a couple days a week for about 10-15 minutes.

“He is a lifesaver,” Blazek said. “He makes me laugh. I’ll go down and say ‘I need to see Grizzly Bear.’ Him and Leslie have both helped me.”

Blazek has found talking to Grizzly Bear and giving him treats to be relaxing. He will often sit in the residents’ laps and ease anxiety. His calm demeanor has been good for spreading joy and happiness throughout the community, according to Blazek.

“I told Leslie ‘He’s the most important living being in this building,’” Blazek said. “He’s so good with people. I’ll tell you, he’s really good to have around here.”

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