Meet Rocky—Our Top Dog (oh, and Judy Baker too)

Every Wednesday at three o’clock, the Widows Home goes to the dogs. Well, to be accurate, it actually goes to the dog—Rocky. Rocky is a four-year-old black lab that comes in to visit our residents as part of our pet therapy program, and he is a bona fide celebrity! Rocky was rescued from SICSA Kettering when he was eight months old by Judy Baker, mother of our Executive Director, Kristi Dixon, and the volunteer coordinator of our pet therapy services. Judy also volunteers at SICSA and after she retired from years of working in nursing homes, she decided that training Rocky to be a pet therapy animal would be a great way to help nursing home residents enjoy a better quality of life. Judy brings Rocky in to see us every week and also takes him in to visit the residents of another nursing home community in the area.

Rocky’s specialized training makes him ideal for brightening our residents’ Wednesday afternoons. He’s calm, responds to commands, and knows just how to act around everybody he comes into contact with. Judy and Rocky visit every room while they’re here, and they leave a trail of smiles everywhere they go. Residents love to give him treats, take him for walks in the courtyard and find it very relaxing and therapeutic to simply pet him and have him return their affections. Of course, not everyone is a “dog person,” but even the folks who don’t invite Rocky into their room think highly of him and the positive effect he has on our community. They like Judy too, but Rocky is definitely the main attraction! In the year since he started his visits, he has basically become our unofficial mascot and he keeps everyone looking forward to Wednesdays. Judy says that bringing Rocky in to interact with our residents is very rewarding and that it’s evident that Rocky enjoys it too. “It’s just great…everybody knows Rocky! There are many residents who keep treats in their rooms for him and truly act as though he is their own personal pet…there have even been residents who don’t normally speak that will talk to Rocky. He really brings out the best in people, and I am glad to be a part of the good work he does.”

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