Rudy is a therapy dog who knows how to light up a room. It’s his job to make people smile. His official ID from a local hospital reads: “Rudy, Therapy Dog Volunteer”.
Willow Valley Resident Dr. Stan Saul and his wife Sandra adopted Rudy from a rescue group near Baltimore when Rudy was 2 years old. Rudy’s previous owners had taken the young pup to be ‘put down’ because their daughter had developed an allergy to the dog. However, Rudy’s veterinarian had a lifesaving idea, to take this sweet cocker spaniel to a rescue group where he could be adopted.
To become a therapy dog, Dr. Saul and Rudy completed a course in training and handling from KPETS (Keystone Pet Enhanced Therapy Service) in Lancaster. Upon successful completion of the course, they received a certification that is active for 2 years and can be renewed at that time for an addition 2 years and so on. Dog license and vaccinations need to be current too. Pets undergo strict rules to ensure that they are clean, vaccinated, well-trained and screened for appropriate behavior.
When Rudy has his vest on, he knows it’s time to get to work. Dr. Saul and Rudy, spend several days each week visiting residents at Willow Valley in The Glen, Arbor View, Meadow Ridge and Lakeside. They make rounds at Lancaster General Health, The Ann Barshinger Cancer Center and The Lancaster Rehabilitation Hospital too.
Rudy could be busy every day of the week. Many times people personally request a therapy visit with Rudy. Or sometimes a nurse will point them towards a patient who could use dog therapy to help them smile. If they don’t see Rudy, Dr. Saul often receives a phone call at home asking about him. Rudy’s visits are usually limited to 1 hour or a little more if he is comfortable. After a day of visits he and Dr. Saul usually take a day or two off just to play and rest.
Dr Saul has observed that Rudy is very attracted to female voices. When they are out and about, Rudy invariably asks for attention from the ladies. That’s why Dr. Saul calls Rudy his “chick magnet”! Be sure to say hello if you see Rudy and Dr. Saul visiting in our communities.