Bill and Rowdy, pet therapy team extraordinaire

by Bill Hamelau and Rowdy, HPCCR pet therapy team

Rowdy, my Portuguese Water Dog, and I have been volunteering as a pet therapy team for HPCCR for a little over a year.  With the excellent assistance of volunteer coordinator Elise Hurst, we have been assigned to patients who reside in the wonderful Carriage Club facilities very near where we live in South Charlotte. 

Our first patient, Mr. K, resided in one of the assisted living buildings on the Carriage Club campus.  At the age of 92, Mr. K was having physical health problems and spent most of his time in a wheelchair.  His memory, however, was extraordinary.  Every time we entered his room and he saw Rowdy it was like a happiness switch was turned on inside of him.  He would want Rowdy right next to his chair and would have a hand on him the entire time.  Mr. K was a dog lover who never had a dog, but longed to own one. 

As happens so frequently, the pet therapy visit is a catalyst that stimulates conversation.  During each visit Mr. K shared stories of his life.  At 16, he went on the road as a musician with big name dance bands on the East Coast and Midwest.  Later, he had a long career as a math teacher.  And during that period, a long marriage to a wife he adored who had passed away several years earlier.

Mr. K always had a twinkle in his eye as he would wistfully and slyly share his colorful stories.  Rowdy would often lay at his feet during these sessions, knowing that it was story-telling time.  Mr. K passed away several months ago when Rowdy and I were in Utah and we never got a chance to say goodbye.  So Mr. K, Rowdy and I are now saying farewell… Thank you so much for allowing us to be part of your life.  It was an honor.

Explore posts in the same categories: hospice, pet therapy, volunteering

3 Comments on “Bill and Rowdy, pet therapy team extraordinaire”

  1. judy Says:

    My brother, Bill, is such a caring and giving person. I wish you all could meet him. And Rowdy, he has learned to be a friend to many people. He loves to get the attention but he also gives a lot of attention to his hospice friends. They make quite a team.

  2. judy Says:

    My brother, Bill, is such a caring and giving person. I wish you all could meet him. And Rowdy, he has learned to be a friend to many people. He loves to get attention but he also gives a lot of attention to his hospice friends. They make quite a team.
    God Bless them both.


  3. [...] touches me.  And yesterday I was sent a poem that one of our volunteers wrote.  Do you remember Bill and Rowdy, our awesome human/dog pet therapy team?  Well, Bill Hamelau had a dear friend, Velma, who died recently (under hospice care) and he [...]


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