The Austin Dog Alliance made its monthly visit to the William R. Courtney Texas State Veterans Home on Sunday, where local veterans spent time with their furry friends.
One veteran said many of them living at the home are forgotten, so these visits help show the community still cares.
Lexi, Chaucer, and Levi all walked in with their tails wagging and smiles on their faces. They serve as “therapy dogs” to the veterans, and the visit is anticipated all month long.
“I just love dogs,” said one Veterans Home resident.
“That’s why we came here to see you–for you to be happy,” Austin Dog Alliance’s Michele Cuteri responded.
Jim Prpich of the Austin Dog Alliance started the therapy visits to the Temple veterans home more than a year ago because he is a veteran himself. He said it is like taking care of family.
“So I asked the nurse staff do you have pet therapy teams that come on over here,” Prpich said “She said we have people who bring pets, but we don’t actually have pet therapy teams that comes here. I said well I’m gonna do something to change that.”
The Austin Dog Alliance representatives hand out doggie business cards to the military veterans while making the rounds. While it’s got contact information, it also mentions favorite hobbies like doing tricks and chasing squirrels.
Chaucer is a smaller dog, so he’ll jump into the veterans laps, while Lexi and Levi simply walk over for some unconditional love.
One woman told Channel 6 she sees her father’s biggest smiles when the therapy dogs comes to visit–which brings her joy as well.
“He used to have a little dog before he got into the nursing home, so it’s been really good for him to be around the dogs without the responsibility and obviously he can’t take care of one anymore,” Stacy Gardner said.
The Austin Dog Alliance said they are working to add more therapy dogs to the monthly visits.
For more information about the Austin Dog Alliance, visit their website.
By: KCEN Military reporter Jillian Angeline