Dr. Paul Perella, DMD

Patient Spotlight: Cathy Dash and her therapy dog, Pearl

Pearl is a therapy dog who comforts Hospice patients

When Cathy Dash's vet noticed how gentle her dog Pearl was, she suggested that Pearl enroll in the pet therapy program at the local hospice.

Cathy, a retired ICU nurse, was a volunteer at the hospice resale shop and enjoyed the special relationships she made while working there. Her son had found Pearl, an American Bulldog, tied up next to a store in poor condition. When he inquired about the dog, he was told "She's no good. She won't fight." It was clear to him that Pearl needed rescuing, so he paid $20 for Pearl and took him home. He trained Pearl to become a hunting dog, which she thrived at, despite being such a gentle creature.

When it came to retire as a hunting dog, Cathy and Pearl enrolled in the pet therapy program, where Pearl thrives even more.

"I've seen Pearl just take people into a different place. They feel better when they're petting her and connecting with her. It's wonderful to experience," said Cathy. Cathy remembers a story where a little boy was visiting his grandmother in hospice and encountered Pearl. He was skeptical at first, but then Pearl went over to him and put her head on his lap. He started petting her, then he hugged her and started to cry. Afterwards, he looked at Cathy and said, "My heart feels better now." A true testament to Pearl's ability to connect with humans.

We had the honor of meeting Pearl yesterday, and after greeting each one of us, she made herself at home by laying on the floor, ready for a belly rub! She deserved it!

We are so proud of our patient Cathy and her sweet Pearl, and their work to help people who are going through difficult times find happiness in their hearts. 

Canine Assisted Therapy (C.A.T.), is a non profit organization, which specializes in recruiting and training therapy teams. Some teams become volunteers to provide pet therapy for hospice patients. C.A.T. teams also work with children and adults with special needs, patients undergoing physical, occupational, and recreational therapies. For information on becoming a Pet Therapy volunteer, call (561) 227-5138.

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