Why I Became a Pet Companion Dog for Hospice

By Finley
(as told to Linda Donovan)

Finley with owner Sue Murphy

Woof.  I’m Finley and I’d like to discuss what some people might refer to as a “pet project.” That’s right. I’m a pet companion for Hospice of Santa Cruz County and I visit with hospice patients and help to comfort them. If they are tired, I’ll sit quietly next to them and gently offer support. I try to bring a smile to their faces and make a real effort to wag my tail to show appreciation. I’d like to share with you some of the reasons why I chose this occupation. First, let me tell you a little about my history.

Before I became a pet companion for Hospice of Santa Cruz County, my life was so routine. I slept about 16 hours a day, took a short walk here and there, watched TV, and ate whenever food was placed in my bowl. And I made sure to bark to announce the arrival of visitors to my house. But I wanted much more than that. I wanted the excitement and challenge of making a doggone difference in this world. My owner Sue, is a hospice volunteer visitor and she signed me up to be a hospice pet companion. I had to undergo a lot of training – and believe me, this took time, and a lot of work before I got certified. But, hey, it was worth the effort.

I could bark on forever about what this job means to me, but it’s more important to focus on what I bring to hospice patients and their families. They look forward to my visits. After all, I’m cute and really friendly. Of course, not all hospice patients are dog people.  But for those who are, I really enjoy visiting and accepting hugs and petting.  If I can bring a smile to a patient’s face, my work is successful!

If you’d like to learn more about the pet companion program, or if you’d like to be a pet companion, contact Radha or Judy in our volunteer department at (831) 430-3000 and they can share details about becoming a certified pet companion.

And, on behalf of all pets everywhere I encourage you to hug your pet today…it makes everyone feel good!