On June 8th, we welcomed a very special addition to our RVNAhealth team — Sophia, our very own therapy dog! There have been lots of ooohs and aaahs around the RVNAhealth offices since she arrived and several weeks later, it still takes Sophia quite a while to get to her desk in the morning — what with all the greetings and affection.
Sophia, a golden retriever, is two years old and has been in training since her birth. She was originally intended to be a seeing eye dog, but her calm demeanor and mild pace ultimately destined her to be the perfect facility/therapy dog.
Prior to her arrival in the office, our three RVNAhealth handlers, Stephanie Notaro, Hospice Volunteer Coordinator; Stephanie Collins, BeWELL Coordinator; and Garrett Walkup, Hospice Pastoral Care Coordinator received extensive training with Sophia at ECAD — Educated Canines Assisting with Disabilities. They all passed their final exams, and graduation took place on June 16th. It was a lovely ceremony with four other graduates alongside our Sophia. It wasn’t announced officially, but we suspect she was the valedictorian. She’s awfully smart.
Since her arrival, Sophia has been busy getting acquainted with the RVNAhealth Ridgefield and New Milford offices, her working role, and her handlers. She has been on hospice patient visits, has visited Ridgefield Crossings and Wilton Meadows, and has chaperoned at COVID-19 vaccine appointments. We’re looking forward to bringing her to all the towns we serve. Sophia truly comes to life when she’s doing her job. As should we all!
In the weeks and months to come, she’ll be going to volunteer events, bereavement groups, and community education and outreach events. As Sophia’s schedule fills up and we introduce her to society, we’ll keep you posted on opportunities to say hello. She’s quite a darling. Check out the photos below.