Puppy brings joy to Mondovi Homeplace residents
by Dana Serum
When Deb Helgeson, Assistant Director of the Homeplace of Mondovi saw a picture of a boxer puppy, born in December 2014, Helgeson couldn’t help but feel attached.
“When I saw Lacy’s picture, I fell in love with her,” Helgeson said. “But knew I couldn’t get a dog and leave her crated all day while I worked, so I just stared at her picture.”
Helgeson said she showed her boss Jason Hazuga the puppy’s picture and his response came as a shock.
“He said get her and bring her to work with you,” Helgeson said. “I couldn’t go get her fast enough.”
Helgeson purchased Lacy, named after the Green Bay Packers player Eddie Lacy, on Feb. 9. The puppy has been busy working at the Homeplace since Feb. 10.
“Dogs are great for the soul and Lacy’s first week here proved that,” Helgeson said.
Helgeson said the response by Homeplace residents has been very positive.
“One resident wanted Lacy to sleep with her, so Lacy’s first day here at work, she took an hour and twenty minute nap with her,” Helgeson said. “The resident loves her so much that I gave her a picture of her holding Lacy for her room so her family can see the dog she talks about as they visit when Lacy is not at work.”
Lacy has even helped bring joy to the exercise routine at the Homeplace.
“Lacy was playing with a ball and the residents would kick it lightly and she would chase it,” Helgeson shared. “We had a lot of laughter that day.”
Helgeson stated that many of the residents come by her office daily to see how Lacy is doing, as she tends to sleep much during the day.
“She likes to peek in some of the residents rooms and they will ask her to come in,” Helgeson said. “One resident made Lacy her very own afghan. She loves it.”
Helgeson noted that the puppy has not only made a difference with the residents, but also the employees.
“They enjoy coming to work and Lacy comes to work every day to new toys, pretty pink collars and even a new jacket,” Helgeson said. “They all pitch in and help with her. She is very spoiled and very loved.”
For a puppy, there is a lot for Lacy to get used to at the Homeplace, Helgeson mentioned.
“My goal is to have Lacy truly become part of our Homeplace family, it is important to socialize her and I want her to get use to walkers, wheel chairs and the daily noise of our facility,” Helgeson stated.
Helgeson also wants the families of residents to handle Lacy, and get to know her, noting children are welcome to come and see her.
“Lacy began puppy training class on March 9,” Helgeson added. “I am not sure how far we can take it, but I want her to learn the basic skills and also to train her to say prayers with the residents, do exercises with them and whatever else we can think of to help fulfill the needs and wants of our residents.”
Helgeson said one thing the residents enjoy is seeing a ‘weekly doggy board’ which shows Lacy’s growth and achievements.
“It was going to be a monthly board but some of the residents showed so much interest in it we decided to make it weekly,” Helgeson said. “It makes awesome conversation for them.”
Helgeson said she is looking forward to the future with Lacy, but for now is mainly focusing on potty training.
“I am told on the weekends when we are not there, some of the residents ask about her. To hear that makes my heart happy,” Helgeson said. “It makes me know that even though Lacy is still a puppy and still learning, she is doing her job, she is making the residents smile, giving them something to think about and talk about.”