June 15, 2022

 

 

Delaney resident Jeanine cuddles George. Katherine Anthony Photo

 

 

Dog brings smiles to senior center

 

By katherine anthony

With a spring in his step and love in his heart, little Delaney George begins his rounds each morning through the halls of The Delaney Senior Living Center on Shell Road. The jaunty rescue dog — once just a day away from euthanasia at an animal shelter — is greeted by residents and staff every day with smiles, pats and treats as he walks around the facility. “George is a source of unconditional love to everyone here,” said Mindy House, director of social media for The Delaney. “It’s amazing to see the impact he’s made on our residents. He spreads sunshine everywhere he goes.” The journey to love at The Delaney was a long and winding road for the half-Westie, half-Maltese ball of fur.

 

George was adopted by The Delaney in November 2021, from Living Grace Canine Ranch, a Bertram shelter for elderly dogs. But before coming to Living Grace, he was on death row at a Dallas-area animal shelter. Due to malassezia dermatitis, a skin condition that requires daily medication and frequent grooming, George had been surrendered to the shelter. After just a week, staff there determined he was unadoptable and George was scheduled to be euthanized.

With just one day left, he was spotted and rescued by Georgetown resident Judy Mager, a friend and supporter of Living Grace, who was visiting in the area.

Living Grace then became George’s new home and — at an estimated age of 14 years — he became a pilot dog for its Let’s Shake Paws program that provides canine companionship to elderly, hospice, palliative and hospital/residential facilities.

 

That’s how George found his fur-ever home at The Delaney, where he won the hearts of the 100 staff members and the 200 residents in independent and assisted living and in memory care. “He’s friendly and gentle with everyone here, and is a great ambassador to new residents who are withdrawn,” Amanda Herndon, director of memory care said. She noted one memory care resident, who had been generally unresponsive, now perks up and interacts with George.

With a grin, Ms. House said George has many “important duties” at The Delaney.

 

She explained that he consults in meetings, plans menus, takes residents for walks, shares break times with staff and joins in with joyful howls during hymn-singing at church services. Most importantly, though, cuddling is his specialty and primary job, Ms. House said. No matter how hard he’s worked during the day, George is never too tired for pats and snuggles. “George just makes everyone feel good. He gets loved on every minute of the day,” she said.

With George in her lap, resident Jeanine said she never wants to set him down. “I’m in love with George,” she said. “He’s like another child. He just makes me happy.”

 

Staff and residents recently turned out for a festive birthday party for George.“We don’t know his real birth date, of course, but George does love a good party,” Ms. House said. “A good time was had by all.”In his time at The Delaney, George’s charm and charisma have made him a social media star. Daily posts of his adventures have attracted a fan base that extends way beyond The Delaney, and even Georgetown. Ms. House said George has more than 3,000 friends on Facebook and gets up to 20 friend requests each day. His videos are also posted to TikTok, and he’s been featured on the website of Doggies for Dementia, a Salado-based non-profit that photographs dementia patients with family pets.

 

In addition to the love George has brought to residents and staff, Ms. House said he’s also increased visibility for The Delaney. “Who wouldn’t want to live or work in a place where everyone is happy,” she said. “George brightens lives here. ”George’s work and fun times at The Delaney can be viewed at www.facebook.com/profile.php?id=100075855918389. More information about Living Grace Canine Ranch is available at www.livinggracecanineranch.org; and Doggies for Dementia at https://doggiesfordementia.org