The residents at Saline Memorial Hospital’s Hospice House always look forward to Sundays. That’s when TJ and his trusty service dog, Corey come for their weekly visits.
TJ was born with cerebral palsey and tardive dyskinesia, a condition that affects the nervous system and causes uncontrollable jerky movements. Despite his challenges, the young man makes the time to visit hospice patients and share Corey’s healing energy.
“Everybody loves TJ and Corey,” said Janice Mooney, Volunteer Coordinator at Hospice House. “Corey will go around and TJ will go around and that really brightens up their day.”
Many of the residents rarely have visitors. For some, TJ and Corey are the highlight of their week. Mooney says the dog’s soothing presence brings joy and comfort – things often in short supply at the hospice.
The handsome chocolate lab is meticulously trained to provide a variety of services for TJ. In addition to picking up dropped items, closing doors and shutting off lights, he is always there to offer comfort in difficult times. In fact, he even responds to a command called “comfort,” where he snuggles up next to TJ and lays his head on the man’s chest.
“TJ has a feeding tube and when he’s using that Corey can lay up beside TJ and comfort him,” said TJ’s mother, Melanie Williams. “When TJ is sick or in the hospital, Corey is right there with him and loving him because TJ loves having his dog with him.”
There was a time when TJ had difficulty socializing, but that all changed when Corey came along 4 years ago.
“It’s really helped TJ make friends and be more involved,” said Melanie. “People see Corey and they want to come and pet him and it’s a great conversation starter.”
Not only has Corey transformed TJ’s life, together they are paying it forward to help others in need. What an inspirational pair!
H/T & Featured Screenshot via KTHV News
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