Puppy makes debut at Maplewood to rave reviews from residents and staff

Remington, a German shepherd, did so well on his first visit to the home, his owner, administrator Rachel Corkery, wants to bring him back every Friday

Last Friday (Aug. 26), Maplewood administrator and life enrichment co-ordinator Rachel Corkery brought her new dog, a German shepherd puppy named Remington, to the Brighton long-term care home to meet residents and staff members.

But he was so well behaved and proved to be so good with everyone, Rachel now plans to bring Remington – whom she affectionately calls Remi – to work every Friday.

On his first day, Remi made a big impression on everyone as soon as Rachel walked through the door with him at 8 a.m.

“We walked up and down the hallways and went to visit residents – we’ve just kind of been out and about – and every time someone passes by they stop and play with him,” Rachel tells The OMNIway.

Rachel says Remi spending time at Maplewood is a win-win for everyone. Remi is getting the socialization a puppy needs, and the residents and staff get to play with a dog, which, for many, brings back fond memories.

“I was talking with one resident, and I brought Remi into his line of vision and a big smile came across his face and we started talking about a dog that he had,” Rachel says.

Maplewood has a longstanding connection with the canine community. For many years, therapy dogs from St. John Ambulance would visit the home to spend time with residents.

However, when the COVID-19 pandemic began in March 2020, the dog therapy program was suspended. With restrictions easing and programs opening again, Maplewood has been eager to restart pet visits. Unfortunately, the home has not been able to find therapy dogs in the area, Rachel says.

This is where Remi can help. Rachel says she’s considering having Remi trained as a therapy dog which would allow him to spend more time with residents.

As important as pet therapy is for long-term-care home residents, it’s also valuable for staff members, Rachel says, noting her co-workers were lining up to see Remi.

“Dogs have always been well received here, by both our staff and our residents, when we’ve had them in the past, and even when family members bring their (dogs) in to visit, it completely changes the atmosphere,” Rachel says. “As long as he continues to be well behaved, he will continue to come to work with me on Fridays.”

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