Hospice Patients Benefit from Puppy Love

If you have pets, you know how important the companionship they provide can be. But for Home Health United - Hospice patients staying at the SSM Health Hospice House, one special dog brightens days and provides a level of comfort only a furry friend can.

Meet Madeline, a fluffy golden doodle who helps comfort our patients staying at the SSM Health Hospice House in Baraboo.

Madeline’s owner and handler Susan Eldred-Kujawa sees how Madeline brings comfort, peace, and companionship to many hospice patients that come to stay at House. “One hospice patient we visited with really loved animals. The first day we went to visit her she was sleeping. The patient was quite upset that she wasn’t able to meet Madeline that day. When she woke up and realized she had missed meeting Madeline, she told the staff, ‘Wake me up next time. I want to see that dog.’ We had several nice visits with her. The last time we visited she wasn’t responsive. Madeline lay close to her bed; the woman reached out to pet her but didn’t have the strength. So, Madeline laid her head on the woman’s hand and just stayed there for the rest of the visit.”

But it’s not just the patients who benefit from Madeline’s visits; it’s the staff as well. Health care can be incredibly stressful, and providing end-of-life care brings its own challenges. For Hospice House staff, being able to take a short break and pet an incredibly fluffy dog helps them to cope.

Susan states, “Madeline is in most ways just a normal dog that is a well-loved family pet and quite spoiled by her humans. She just happens to also be a working dog, doing pet therapy. She loves playing outside and chasing her squirrel friends or fetching her ball. And of course loves people, especially kids.”

Interested in volunteering? Contact us at call 1-800-924-2273, Volunteers@hhuvns.org, or visit our website for more information.