February 2017 Newsletter
by Cheryl Cohen on 2/19/2017

                               Hope everyone had a "Happy Valentine's Day"!

      Due to the storms we had a few extra visits that we were able to schedule. Thank you to those teams that were able and willing to help out with these last minute visits. We visited a few of the shelters and we made an additional Sunday afternoon visit to the Willson Hospice House, due to their increased census from the storms. Thank you to Betty Livingston & Schatzi, Beverly Nichols & Mandy, Sandy Knight & Bella, Mark Cohen with Mini, Maxine and Spike. I know that everyone appreciated our willingness to reach out to our community during this difficult time. 

      We held our Handler Workshop on January the 28th and all went very well. We had nine people that signed up and six that actually attended the workshop. I am so excited to say that one of our attendees is a very impressive ten year old named Murphy.  Murphy has a beautiful and very sweet rescue from the Albany Humane Society, named Gabby. Murphy is making great progress with Gabby's training and we look forward to adding them both to our group. It is wonderful to see more young people getting involved in our mission. Thank you to Beverly Nichols and Mandy for helping out on the day of the Workshop.

      Jessica Andrews is another very impressive young lady that joined our group last year. Jessica has been very busy with school, but I wanted to share with all of you that Jessica sent a note to say that her schedule has been so hectic with her studies, and that she and Blue are looking forward to scheduling a visit just as soon as she can manage it time wise. We wish her well with her studies and goals, and we look forward to seeing them both on a visit. We thank her for keeping us informed and staying in touch.

       We can all be very proud of carrying out our mission to improve the mental and physical health of those within our communities. As a Paws Patrol-Pet Partner member we also have a responsibility to participate in fullfilling our commitments to our communitiesWe continually get so much positive feedback, many words of praise and appreciation from our communities. We are highly regarded within our area. I would like to share a recent experience with all of you. Meg Farris with Fig, and myself with Maxine entered a patient's room at Phoebe North, we immediately received a huge smile, and an ,"oh, yes please come in"! This patient had been in ICU for sometime and had recently been moved to Phoebe North for rehab. Her nurse said, "wow, that is the first time I have seen her smile"! We had been visiting with the patient for a few minutes when she began to cry many tears. She began to tell us just how grateful she was to visit with our fur babies and asked us to take a picture for her, with her own camera of course, so that she could share with her friends and family. She said that we absoulutely made her day. I can assure you that she in return, had made our day a much better one! This is not a rare occurence and I hope that all of you will take advantage of these wonderful opportunities to share.

        Beginning with the March schedule, we have split the Americus visit. We found that visiting Phoebe Sumter and Magnolia Manor on the same day has been too demanding on our teams, so we have put them on seperate days. Magnolia Manor is so very grateful to our group for visiting with their residents, but we really could use more teams to help with the demand. The staff has been terrific about organizing our visits according to the number of teams visiting. This has been very helpful in our time management requirements. This means that we will be visiting Americus three times each month instead of just twice. It is about 80 miles round trip from where I live, but we have been ride sharing to lessen the burden. This also gives us time to visit with one another. We are also planning on going a little early on occasion to enjoy a lunch at the lovely Windsor Hotel. We feel this would be very enjoyable afternoon on a nice day, and dogs are allowed in the outside dining area. 

      Aspire visits are enjoyable and relaxing. The children are well behaved and really seem to enjoy the fur babies. We have changed Aspire visits from twice each month to once a month. They have a large number of younger children on Tuesday that seem to enjoy the fur babies more than the older children. 

      Pruitt Health was canceled in February due to cold and flu quarantine.

      Fran Clinkscales with Rosie, joined myself and Mini for a special visit to Lee County Pre-K on Friday, February the 3rd. It was pretty funny, not to mention another learning moment for me, when we arrived I asked how many children were in the Pre-k class. I tried not to drop my jaw when the director answered there are 220 children ,in a total of four classes, seated in the gymnasium. I wish all of you could have seen Mini's eyes when we walked into the gymnasium and she saw a wall full of children. I must say that the children were very well behaved and a good time was had by all. We talked to the children about the places we visit, about our dogs, and about how to safely approach and animal. Then two lines were formed and the children got to pet Rosie and Mini as they exited the gymnasium. 

Phoebe News 

      Phoebe facilities are the majority of our visits and are always such a pleasure to visit. If you are interested in visiting Phoebe facilities, but have not yet attended their required Volunteer Workshop, please call Judy Himes in Volunteer Services 229-312-4335 or email jhimes@phoebehealth.com to schedule.

      Remember that the annual updates and TB test are required and due by the end of February. All Phoebe Volunteers should have received a packet with the necessary information. The updates can be accessed and completed online and to schedule your TB test call Employee Health Dept. 312-2380.

      Phoebe Sumter is delighted that beginning in March we will no longer be rushed to complete our visit at 2:10, but we will be able to visit for a full two hours when necessary. We have been able to maintain at least two teams for this visit, which has been adequate, but we would always welcome more teams to join us. 

     Phoebe North has gotten to be a busier visit than when we first started visiting. We used to just visit the Physical Therapy Dept., but are pleased that we have since expanded our visit to the 3rd & 4th General Medical Floors. Please consider joining us for this visit.

     Phoebe Main Campus is such a pleasure to visit and always very, very busy. Over the last couple of years our commitment to the number of visitation areas has grown. Currently we are not visiting Behavioral Health due to repairs to the area, but they do want us to return when the repairs are completed. We are now going to Pediatrics when needed, we are now visiting the Surgical Unit waiting area, the SICU and the CCU waitning areas. We need more teams to help us fulfill our commitment and stay within our time restraint, so please sign up to help us if you are available. 

     Willson Hospice House If you would like to visit the Hospice House and have not yet taken the required Volunteer Orientation please contact Penny McCullough at 229-312-7050 or email pmccullo@phoebehealth.org to schedule.

     Our Semi-annual Meeting has been changed to Sunday, March the 5th, from 3:00 to 5:00 pm. and will be held at the Cohen's home.

                                                              Volunteer Spotlight 

  Beverly Nichols and Mandy!

          After teaching and living overseas for thirty-five years, in 2008, I moved to Leesburg with my youngest daugher and our dog, Guess. I have traveled the world, but was excited about exploring more of the United States and volunteering wherever I might be needed.

         Guess was getting older so I adopted another dog, Rocky, from Terrell County Humane Society. During this time, I was also working a part-time job and doing some volunteer work. After we had to say good-bye to Guess, I fostered a couple of dogs in search of a companion for Rocky. Then, just over six years ago, my Vet's office called and said that they had a rescue dog that they thought would be a perfect match. Someone had found this sweet girl wondering in the woods and no one claimed her. They named her Mandy and she became part of the Nichol's family. Mandy was very sweet, even tempered and got along well with Rocky.

        Three years later, while I was volunteering at ACT II, I met Judy Landau and her dog Belle. I learned about the wonderful service of Paws Patrol. I knew that Mandy would make a wonderful therapy dog, because Mandy loved everyone she met. We took the necessary steps and in 2014 we became a Paws Patrol Therapy Team.

        Mandy and I love visiting all of the places Paws Patrol goes, but she especially loves cuddling with patients in their beds at the nursing homes and the hospitals. She  puts a smile on many faces and cuddles with those who really need a bright spot in their day. The rewards Mandy gets is all of the love she receives from everyone. I am rewarded with comments such as, "this is just what I needed today" or "this is the first time I have seen him/her smile today". We love being part of a group that cares and shares!

Please continue to keep Barbara, Richard and Charlye Harden in your thoughts and prayers!

February Birthdays!

Happy Birthday!!!

Mac Walters, Linda Grimes, Amy Jones and Liz Meilton ( Marty's Mom's 95th!! )