Ellen & Laci – Bulldog Therapy

– Come on. Come on, let’s go get the ball. I’m Ellen Morell and I’m a
chaplain for Harmony Hospice. And this is Laci and
she’s my therapy dog who goes with me to
visit my patients. Come on. And we just visit people
and enjoy ourselves. Good girl. Good girl. (laughs) Hi, Donna, this is
Ellen from Harmony. I was just checking in
to see how you’re doing. You’ve been through
a difficult period and I hope that you will
take a day or two to relax and refresh and
rejuvenate yourself. I try to check on the diagnosis before I go to
see people because sometimes it makes a difference. I have been a dental hygienist,
which I did for 10 years. I have been a planned
giving consultant, which was lots of fun, helping rich people
give money away is not a bad way
to make a living. And then, finally, I
succumbed to the call from God and became an Episcopal priest. On my way, when I decided
to move to Arizona, on my way here, I
had another call that said you need to
be a hospice chaplain so I came and applied and
got a job and here I am. (water running) Let’s go, go see the veterans. (dog panting) Let’s go, come on. You see the puppy, huh? – [Woman] Do you see it? – Laci, can you sit? Can you wave to the little boy? Wave. Good girl. (laughing) Were you in the Army? We thank you for your service, ’cause what you did
made it possible for us to do what we do, so
we really thank you. – This is my husband, Bob Budak. He’s a Vietnam vet. He worked, he was in the Army. This, actually, is
a wonderful place. We’ve worked really
hard to get him here and we’re very excited. And you notice how alert he got and how excited he
was to see Laci, so, he’s very receptive
to therapies, receptive to having
people and talk with him and he enjoys it and he smiles. He smiles, yeah. – Laci has been my friend, my
sidekick for years and years. She’s eight-years-old. I got her when she
was just a puppy. My son had her mother and
I went to see the puppies but told him I would not,
under any circumstances, take a puppy home. And I don’t know
how it happened, but on the way home, I looked
over and there she was. (laughing) And we have been pretty
much inseparable ever since. – So if you go to our
website harmonyhospice.org and you look at
meet the employees, Laci is very, on the very top. (laughs) She has her own
professional photo and so we often joke,
again, she’s the boss. (laughs) – I read his book and I
thought he was a good man. – Oh, yeah. – Yeah. I’ve had lots of
dogs in my life. I’ve always had dogs. And I’ve loved them
and I’ve cared for them but I’ve never had one that
I actually called my sidekick because Laci’s like
that little poem, remember, when you
were in grade school. I have a little shadow that
goes in and out with me and what can be the use of
it is more than I can see. Well, that’s Laci. Everywhere I go, she goes. If I happen to come
in without her, the question always is,
“Where’s Laci, where’s Laci?” (upbeat music) Hi. I brought Laci to see you. – [Woman] Laci or Stacy? – [Ellen] Laci, like lace on
your dress, like lace fabric. – Oh, how can anything be
so ugly and so wonderful? (laughing) – I like to tell the story about when I first took
her to some people. There was a lady who
had advanced dementia who could not say
anything intelligible, who sort of just
chattered all day. I walked in with Laci and she
looked down at her and said, “Nice dog.” (laughs) So, Laci touches people in
many ways that are surprising. More than once, when
she’s been invited, she’s climbed up in
bed with somebody and laid with them
as they were dying, so that they die with their hand on a nice, soft, furry head. (gentle music) She failed agility,
she failed obedience, she really failed motherhood
because it took us two-and-a-half years
to get her pregnant and then she ended up
with three living puppies and hated them. Really hated them. Sit. Wave. Good girl. But she’s finally
found her calling. She’s as good a therapy
dog as you could have. Hey, you’ve made a friend. You know how to make dogs happy. – She’s great. – [Ellen] I consider this
part of my service to God. – I like animals. – And even though
I’m not as religious as a lot of chaplains are, I
don’t insist that people pray, I don’t insist that they
find salvation in Jesus, I think this is my
ministry to the world. And Laci’s ministry
to the world. So, we’re doing this, truly
out of a sense of call, as a minister would say.

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