Therapy dog Zoey walks patiently beside Eva Mae Andres as her wheelchair is pushed down a hallway at Schowalter Villa in Hesston. Zoey keeps perfect pace with the wheelchair and never tries to rush ahead, simply enjoying this quiet moment with Andres.
Andres isn’t the only Schowalter Villa resident who loves Zoey. Since the Australian Labradoodle came to the Villa, staff said she has become a special friend to many of the residents.
“People are happy when they see her,” said Treva Greaser, vice president of health services for the Villa. “I’m sure there’s lots of memories generated about family dogs.”
Local breeder Molly Simmering, owner of Cottonwood Labradoodles in Hesston, donated Zoey to the Villa after the retirement center’s previous therapy dog passed away.
The Labradoodle breed is a cross between a poodle and a Labrador retriever. They don’t shed and are less likely to bother people with pet allergies.
Simmering said Zoey quickly stood out in her litter as an ideal candidate for a therapy dog due to her temperament and social behavior.
“She was the one that always greeted anyone that entered the room,” she said.
The residents and staff were asked to help choose the new therapy dog’s name. They were given ballots with six possible names, and they voted on which one they liked the best.
For more information about Cottonwood Labradoodles, call (620) 327-5085 or (620) 327-7412.