Wind Chaser – Therapy Dog

Wind Chaser!

This is Wind Chaser K Lou Who of Columbia Gorge Cotons! It just doesn’t get any cuter than this!

Chase’s name was derived by using the first letter of each of our children, Carter, Haley, Austin, Seth and Eve!
“Chase” is a companion Coton and a certified therapy dog. He was our first coton and oh, how we fell in love with Cotons! Chase visits nursing home residents and hospice patients. Everybody loves Chase!

About my therapy work…

Hi. I’m Chase. My human mom, Kathi, has been a Hospice Chaplain and Volunteer. Hospice work provides me a wonderful opportunity to share time with individuals who are in their final stages of life. People are accepted into a hospice program if they are terminally ill and have a life limiting illness. They are often placed in a skilled nursing facility, group home or hospice in-patient unit, but some do live at home.

I have been certified through Therapy Dogs International. TDI is able to make a tremendous difference in any hospice program by providing comfort, love and companionship through the use of their dogs. My goal is to enrich the quality of life for the hospice patient and often their families as well. Just the sight of me and the touch of my fur often brings peace and joy to those patients whose life once included animals like me. Physical contact has a calming effect and I have the ability to bring back pleasant memories of a person’s life. I can help combat loneliness and give people I see the chance to have something to look forward to. I allow the patient to feel needed and wanted at a time in their life when death is evident.

Through training and experience, I became part of a Hospice team. Not all handlers or dogs are suitable for this aspect of therapy work. It is up to the handler (like my Mom) to determine if these are the kind pf people we are comfortable working with.

While working with a hospice program, I have learned to be able to sense the process an individual goes through with death. Signs may include a change in breathing, restlessness or possible disorientation. In addition to the patient, dogs and handlers often have the ability to comfort family members including children. Handlers must recognize if it’s appropriate to stay or excuse themselves when the end is near. There are times when the family may request that the therapy dog lay by the end of the bed during the patient’s final moments of life. I like doing that, a lot. This might be because the patient loved dogs and the sight of me brings a sense of normalcy for not only the patient but the family as well. I have had the wonderful opportunity to spend several hours on the beds of patients who are actively dying, one of whom was my human grandpa.

Being part of a hospice team is a powerful and inspirational experience for a TDI member. It is a benefit for me to be able to bring comfort to people at the end of life.