The Roanoker - March/April 2020 - 69

TOP:
Aria, pet therapy dog
and tiny best friend to
writer Rebecca Jackson.

TheRoanoker.com

BOTTOM,
LEFT TO RIGHT:
Annette Wishart,
Rowana Okun, Holly
Adams, Shana Sayers
Carol Scruggs, Dr. Susan
Funk and Tom Perdue.

RIA WAS NOT ONLY a beloved dog and best buddy,
but she performed an additional, nobler function
than a pet. The little blonde Pomeranian happily
bounced and danced around hospitals and nursing
homes from Roanoke to Richmond, bringing
strength, hope, happiness and smiles to people
of all ages while they recovered from illness,
surgery, or treatments.
Aria was a therapy dog, part of a growing
legion of animals who help people heal. Or at least enjoy
a glimmer of happiness in their final days.
There was James Thornhope, a bedridden World
War II vet who survived the Bataan death march and
still bore the scar of a Japanese bayonet strike on his
forehead. Aria eagerly cuddled beneath his arm and
lovingly licked his time-worn face. James's world now
consisted of bed space in the long-term care wing of a
retirement facility. He loved this little dog and looked
forward to her visits.
A couple times a month she'd stop by another such
place and share a cup of tea, a chat and petting with a
native of the Yorkshire Dales, a sprightly British dame
with an encyclopedic memory and an avid follower of
the royals.
Rowana Okun, who volunteers at English Meadows,
a large regional retirement facility in Bedford, says
residents look forward to visits by her and her three
dogs, a Labradoodle, Pomeranian and Toy Poodle. She
and her canines are part of a larger group, four to five
individuals affiliated with the Bedford Humane Society,
who make quarterly visits to English Meadows, Centra
Health, Oakwood Manor, Carriage Hill and other
retirement homes and hospitals.
"There is a big demand for us," notes the retired
nurse and horse enthusiast who relocated several years
ago to Virginia from Pennsylvania following the death
of her husband. "I love bringing joy and happiness
to residents and patients and see all the smiles and
happiness."
A review of literature found that patients who are
in settings like hospitals, nursing homes and psychiatric
facilities have benefits from working with therapy
animals that include improved mood, reductions in pain,
improvements in heart rate and heart rate variability
and just in general, better engagement with their
medical care.

MARCH/APRIL 2020 69


http://www.TheRoanoker.com

The Roanoker - March/April 2020

Table of Contents for the Digital Edition of The Roanoker - March/April 2020

The Roanoker - March/April 2020 - Intro
The Roanoker - March/April 2020 - Cover1
The Roanoker - March/April 2020 - Cover2
The Roanoker - March/April 2020 - 3
The Roanoker - March/April 2020 - 4
The Roanoker - March/April 2020 - 5
The Roanoker - March/April 2020 - 6
The Roanoker - March/April 2020 - 7
The Roanoker - March/April 2020 - 8
The Roanoker - March/April 2020 - 9
The Roanoker - March/April 2020 - 10
The Roanoker - March/April 2020 - 11
The Roanoker - March/April 2020 - 12
The Roanoker - March/April 2020 - 13
The Roanoker - March/April 2020 - 14
The Roanoker - March/April 2020 - 15
The Roanoker - March/April 2020 - 16
The Roanoker - March/April 2020 - 17
The Roanoker - March/April 2020 - 18
The Roanoker - March/April 2020 - 19
The Roanoker - March/April 2020 - 20
The Roanoker - March/April 2020 - 21
The Roanoker - March/April 2020 - 22
The Roanoker - March/April 2020 - 23
The Roanoker - March/April 2020 - 24
The Roanoker - March/April 2020 - 25
The Roanoker - March/April 2020 - 26
The Roanoker - March/April 2020 - 27
The Roanoker - March/April 2020 - 28
The Roanoker - March/April 2020 - 29
The Roanoker - March/April 2020 - 30
The Roanoker - March/April 2020 - 31
The Roanoker - March/April 2020 - 32
The Roanoker - March/April 2020 - 33
The Roanoker - March/April 2020 - 34
The Roanoker - March/April 2020 - 35
The Roanoker - March/April 2020 - 36
The Roanoker - March/April 2020 - 37
The Roanoker - March/April 2020 - 38
The Roanoker - March/April 2020 - 39
The Roanoker - March/April 2020 - 40
The Roanoker - March/April 2020 - 41
The Roanoker - March/April 2020 - 42
The Roanoker - March/April 2020 - 43
The Roanoker - March/April 2020 - 44
The Roanoker - March/April 2020 - 45
The Roanoker - March/April 2020 - 46
The Roanoker - March/April 2020 - 47
The Roanoker - March/April 2020 - 48
The Roanoker - March/April 2020 - 49
The Roanoker - March/April 2020 - 50
The Roanoker - March/April 2020 - 51
The Roanoker - March/April 2020 - 52
The Roanoker - March/April 2020 - 53
The Roanoker - March/April 2020 - 54
The Roanoker - March/April 2020 - 55
The Roanoker - March/April 2020 - 56
The Roanoker - March/April 2020 - 57
The Roanoker - March/April 2020 - 58
The Roanoker - March/April 2020 - 59
The Roanoker - March/April 2020 - 60
The Roanoker - March/April 2020 - 61
The Roanoker - March/April 2020 - 62
The Roanoker - March/April 2020 - 63
The Roanoker - March/April 2020 - 64
The Roanoker - March/April 2020 - 65
The Roanoker - March/April 2020 - 66
The Roanoker - March/April 2020 - 67
The Roanoker - March/April 2020 - 68
The Roanoker - March/April 2020 - 69
The Roanoker - March/April 2020 - 70
The Roanoker - March/April 2020 - 71
The Roanoker - March/April 2020 - 72
The Roanoker - March/April 2020 - 73
The Roanoker - March/April 2020 - 74
The Roanoker - March/April 2020 - 75
The Roanoker - March/April 2020 - 76
The Roanoker - March/April 2020 - 77
The Roanoker - March/April 2020 - 78
The Roanoker - March/April 2020 - 79
The Roanoker - March/April 2020 - 80
The Roanoker - March/April 2020 - 81
The Roanoker - March/April 2020 - 82
The Roanoker - March/April 2020 - 83
The Roanoker - March/April 2020 - 84
The Roanoker - March/April 2020 - 85
The Roanoker - March/April 2020 - 86
The Roanoker - March/April 2020 - 87
The Roanoker - March/April 2020 - 88
The Roanoker - March/April 2020 - 89
The Roanoker - March/April 2020 - 90
The Roanoker - March/April 2020 - 91
The Roanoker - March/April 2020 - 92
The Roanoker - March/April 2020 - 93
The Roanoker - March/April 2020 - 94
The Roanoker - March/April 2020 - 95
The Roanoker - March/April 2020 - 96
The Roanoker - March/April 2020 - 97
The Roanoker - March/April 2020 - 98
The Roanoker - March/April 2020 - 99
The Roanoker - March/April 2020 - 100
The Roanoker - March/April 2020 - 101
The Roanoker - March/April 2020 - 102
The Roanoker - March/April 2020 - 103
The Roanoker - March/April 2020 - 104
The Roanoker - March/April 2020 - 105
The Roanoker - March/April 2020 - 106
The Roanoker - March/April 2020 - 107
The Roanoker - March/April 2020 - 108
The Roanoker - March/April 2020 - 109
The Roanoker - March/April 2020 - 110
The Roanoker - March/April 2020 - 111
The Roanoker - March/April 2020 - 112
The Roanoker - March/April 2020 - 113
The Roanoker - March/April 2020 - 114
The Roanoker - March/April 2020 - Cover3
The Roanoker - March/April 2020 - Cover4
https://www.nxtbook.com/nxtbooks/leisure/roanoker_20210102
https://www.nxtbook.com/nxtbooks/leisure/roanoker_2020_1112
https://www.nxtbook.com/nxtbooks/leisure/roanoker_20200910
https://www.nxtbook.com/nxtbooks/leisure/roanoker_20200506
https://www.nxtbook.com/nxtbooks/leisure/roanoker_20200304
https://www.nxtbook.com/nxtbooks/leisure/roanoker_20200102
https://www.nxtbook.com/nxtbooks/leisure/roanoker_20191112
https://www.nxtbook.com/nxtbooks/leisure/roanoker_20190910
https://www.nxtbook.com/nxtbooks/leisure/roanoker_20190708
https://www.nxtbook.com/nxtbooks/leisure/roanoker_20190506
https://www.nxtbook.com/nxtbooks/leisure/roanoker_20190304
https://www.nxtbook.com/nxtbooks/leisure/roanoker_20190102
https://www.nxtbook.com/nxtbooks/leisure/roanoker_20181112
https://www.nxtbook.com/nxtbooks/leisure/roanoker_20180910
https://www.nxtbook.com/nxtbooks/leisure/roanoker_20180708
https://www.nxtbook.com/nxtbooks/leisure/roanoker_20180506
https://www.nxtbook.com/nxtbooks/leisure/roanoker_20180304
https://www.nxtbook.com/nxtbooks/leisure/roanoker_20180102
https://www.nxtbook.com/nxtbooks/leisure/roanoker_20171112
https://www.nxtbook.com/nxtbooks/leisure/roanoker_20170910
https://www.nxtbook.com/nxtbooks/leisure/TheRoanoker_JulyAugust2017
https://www.nxtbook.com/nxtbooks/leisure/TheRoanoker_MayJune2017
https://www.nxtbook.com/nxtbooks/leisure/roanoker_20170304
https://www.nxtbook.com/nxtbooks/leisure/roanoker_20170102
https://www.nxtbook.com/nxtbooks/leisure/roanoker_20161112
https://www.nxtbook.com/nxtbooks/leisure/roanoker_20160910
https://www.nxtbook.com/nxtbooks/leisure/roanoker_20160708
https://www.nxtbook.com/nxtbooks/leisure/roanoker_20160506
https://www.nxtbook.com/nxtbooks/leisure/roanoker_20160304
https://www.nxtbook.com/nxtbooks/leisure/roanoker_20160102
https://www.nxtbook.com/nxtbooks/leisure/roanoker_20151112
https://www.nxtbook.com/nxtbooks/leisure/roanoker_20150910
https://www.nxtbook.com/nxtbooks/leisure/roanoker_20150708
https://www.nxtbook.com/nxtbooks/leisure/roanoker_20150506
https://www.nxtbook.com/nxtbooks/leisure/roanoker_20150304
https://www.nxtbook.com/nxtbooks/leisure/roanoker_20150102
https://www.nxtbook.com/nxtbooks/leisure/roanoker_20141112
https://www.nxtbook.com/nxtbooks/leisure/roanoker_20140910
https://www.nxtbook.com/nxtbooks/leisure/roanoker_20140708
https://www.nxtbook.com/nxtbooks/leisure/roanoker_20140506
https://www.nxtbook.com/nxtbooks/leisure/roanoker_201403
https://www.nxtbook.com/nxtbooks/leisure/roanoker_201402
https://www.nxtbookmedia.com