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Archive | August, 2013

A Tribute to SeBastian: A Therapy Dog

He started out as a typical, cute as a button, Newfie puppy that I needed to make my life feel complete. Little did I know how much he would impact my whole life and the lives of so many people he would come into contact with. After all, he was my fourth Newfie, I know how special they are, but this one………the most spiritually powerful one that I have known, I had no idea there could even be this kind of a spiritual connection.

He was willing to help me no matter what I needed, and it’s like he seemed to connect to my thoughts and just know when I needed help. He was very comical, rolling his eyes up every time I announced “I’m going to hug you”….similar to what little kids do when they have overly exuberant hugging grandma’s.

He was nick named “little king Tut” at horse shows……if you can imagine a little fluffy puppy with paws so large he’d stumble over them. Then I would set up a soft sided crate, with sheep skin bedding and 1-2 fans blowing on him. He would not leave those fans. He found joy and peace in everything he did.

I became very ill (multi system failure, lungs, kidneys and liver) and was hospitalized for a long time in ICU. Luckily, a friend of mine, Leslie Harris, fostered him until I was well enough to come home. He was only 2 years old when I became ill.

It was when I returned home that I realized exactly what a special “pup” he was. Foolishly, I was walking with him late at night (I’d been told NOT to go for walks etc as I was just learning how to get my balance etc. I had a right drift that often made me fall ), I stumbled on the sidewalk and could not get up, physically impossible. This young dog sat next me, and then he laid down next to me, I put my arm across his shoulder and he sat up, bringing me to my knees. Then he gently stood with me balanced on him and I was able to stand. That was when I realized he was very special!

It was several months before I was able to get up if I stooped down. That was how I measured when I was getting stronger. I would stoop by a hutch so I could pull myself up….SeBastian didn’t like that way so he tried to get between me and the hutch so HE could help me get up. That is how we did it from then on.

He was always trying to be helpful. I always thought that our bond was so different because he was an only K-9 child and I was a single K-9 Mom. So we counted on each other for everything. He needed me as much as I needed him. I took him for his CGC testing. Without him taking a class, the judge said “he is so tuned in to you, I’ve not seen this attentiveness without a dog taking the classes.” She encouraged me to go for some obedience titles (I’d titled all my other Newfies in Obedience).

I decided I wanted to share SeBastian and his caring ways with others. So I took him to Miami Valley Pet Therapy Association classes when he was 7 years old. They were held at Southview with the most awesome instructor, Hether James, and evaluators Iris Carter and Ginger. There SeBastian and I formed some great bonds/relationships with many people in mvPTa. Thus our pet therapy career began.

SeBastian seemed to thrive on meeting people and helping people to feel better. We went to St Leonard’s health care center, and Hospice of Dayton. It was during this time, that I decided to give him his own Facebook page (Sebastian Cares) as many family members of patients wanted to follow where he was going. I still have several deep friendships from doing those visits. The most memorable visit was when we did a visit for Hospice to a nursing home for a gentleman whose very last wish was to be able to visit/see a dog. We were there, when the patient died, I held his hand with SeBastian’s leash in it, and SeBastian just laid quietly at the side of his bed. That was when I realized just how much pet therapy means to people. It not only benefits the patients, but it also benefits us as handlers.

SeBastian turned 11 on 2/27/2013 and he left for the Rainbow Bridge 3/18/2013. The impact of how much he affected peoples life could be seen the few days before his leaving us. He had many visitors from Hospice, dear friends from mvPTa, and friends of his that knew him when he was “little King Tut.” One person who had never met him, but followed him on FB, came to see him and meet him and say good bye. Larry, who became SeBastian’s Dad in ’06 said that SeBastian had renewed his faith in humanity, by the reactions of people when they met him, and the way he responded to people.

SeBastian lived his life to help others, near or far away. It amazes me to this day how he affected so many people that never “met” him. After his death, the out pouring of support In cards and memorial items from people in other states that he’d never met, truly made me realize the scope of how much he had really touched people’s lives. That is when I realized that I should celebrate the most awesome 11 years I had with him and try not to dwell on how many months he’s been gone. I love you buddy, and miss you with all my heart and then some. Thank you for blessing MY life.

Survivors Sought to Take Part in Pink Glove Dance

Hospice of Dayton is seeking breast cancer survivors to participate in their entry for the Pink Glove Dance sponsored by Medline Medical Products.

This will be the first entry for Hospice of Dayton in the charity competition Medline sponsors each year. Medline dedicates a portion of the proceeds from each sale of the Generation Pink® gloves, used exclusively by Hospice of Dayton, to the National Breast Cancer Foundation (NBCF). Since 2005, Medline has committed more than $1.2 million to the NBCF to help fund mammograms for individuals who cannot afford them as well as other educational and prevention resources.

The Hospice of Dayton entry will feature survivors as well as staff and community members, along with a memorial listing of names submitted of those who have died from breast cancer disease. The project will involve filming of brief dance segments which will be combined into a final production for submission. No previous dance experience is required. Previous winners of the Pink Glove Dance can be viewed at

Breast cancer survivors interested in participating and those who wish to submit names for the memorial listing are invited to contact us for more information by e-mailing

Fairy Garden Provides Respite Care for Patients and Families

Miriam Morrison, Director of Volunteer Services


Nestled in an area of manicured bushes at the back of the Dayton Hospice House is a fairy garden of tiny benches, a gazebo, a picnic table, stone sidewalks and fences, toadstools, fairies, and lights, surrounded by miniature plants.

The gardens at the Dayton Hospice House provide respite care for patients and families, especially this small area outside the window of the Family Lounge at the back of the garden level of the Shaw building. Patients in wheelchairs can be seen sitting there with smiles of finding such a unique creation. Often children can be seen peering outside the window with excited giggles at finding nature’s version of a dollhouse.

Debbie Harber, one of our volunteers, has been creating fairy gardens for six years. She approached us about creating one for our gardens. Miriam Wolf, Hospice of Dayton landscaper, had the vision of a fairy garden in the master plan for landscaping, and she and Debbie chose this site. Over a six-week period, Debbie prepared the site and donated articles for each area of the garden.

Debbie became a hospice volunteer in 2013 as a result of a specialized recruitment for retired postal workers who could help sort the mail. As a retired letter carrier with 30 years experience, Debbie sorts the mail on Mondays each week in additional to caring for the fairy garden.

“My life has been blessed by volunteering at the Hospice of Dayton, knowing that everyone, not only children, is enjoying the miniature garden.”

Strategic Partnership Formed to Advance Quality of Mission-Based Hospice Care

DAYTON (August 14, 2013) –Linda Daniel, Executive Director of Hospiceof Miami County, and Kent Anderson, President and CEO of the Hospice of Dayton, are pleased to announce that their organizations have formed a strategic partnership.

“Our organizations have collaborated for several years. This strategic partnership simply formalizes our relationship,” explained Hospice of Dayton Board of Directors Chairman, Greg Toman. “By combining our strengths, we are ensuring the long-term success of the shared mission of serving more patients and their families with even higher levels of hospice care.”

Hospice of Dayton and Hospice of Miami County came together because of their shared values, shared culture, shared mission, and shared expertise. With over 30 years of care delivery, both organizations offer:

    • more visits and direct care to patients than any other hospice provider;
    • more resources to provide care to patients and their families, like respiratory therapy, massage therapy; and,
    • greater support by providing every level of care a hospice patient or their family may need.


“The benefit of our partnership, beyond enhancing care and services to the community, is the ability for both organizations to maintain their name, local identity and local presence,” explained Tom Hagan, Board of Directors Chairman of Hospice of Miami County. “Additionally, each organization will have board of directors comprised of community members, and local leadership that will focus on specific community needs and desired services. By keeping our local boards and local management, we will maintain our community roots and focus.”

As the only non-profit hospice care organizations in Miami and Montgomery County, Hospice of Miami County and Hospice of Dayton fulfill a unique role by providing mission-driven, community-based care. This care includes nationally recognized best practices and is the best available in the respective communities.

“Hospice of Miami County and Hospice of Dayton set the standard for end-of-life care in the region. This shared expertise and commitment to quality are evident, in part, by the sheer number of resources we devote to patient care, not to making a profit,” stated Daniel. “Working, sharing and planning together makes us stronger and will enhance the quality of our care and services.”

“We believe our partnership will help us continue to grow and protect jobs by advancing quality and access to end-of-life care to more patients and families in the Miami Valley Region,” said Anderson. “Together, we help families honor, celebrate, and approach the end of life with dignity and peace of mind and assure that the end-of-life is as honored and celebrated as the beginning of life.”

This strategic partnership will:

  • Serve over 5,000 patients annually
  • Serve over 700 patients each day
  • Employ over 650 exceptional staff members
  • Have the privilege of serving with over 800 wonderful volunteers
  • Ensure that no one in our communities is denied access to hospice care based on their ability to pay or have insurance


About Hospice of Miami County

Hospice of Miami County is committed to providing the best quality care, comfort and support to members of our community. We believe hospice care is about how you live each moment to the fullest extent possible.

Delivering comprehensive hospice services to everyone who needs those services, without financial or cultural impediments or barriers is central to the philosophy and mission of Hospice of Miami County.

We have a single passion and focus: mission-driven, hospice care. We have been here since 1983; and we will be there for you and your family when hospice services are needed.


About Hospice of Dayton

Our mission is to celebrate the lives of those we have the privilege of serving by providing superior care and superior services to each patient and family. We are a non-profit, community-based hospice.

Every dollar donated helps us provide superior care and services to patients and families in our communities. We offer services no other hospice can. We are dedicated to meeting the needs of our communities. Our shareholders are you—the members of the Miami Valley community who are the owners of Hospice of Dayton and Hospice of Butler & Warren Counties.

Grief Workshop Offered at St. Margaret’s Episcopal Church

Walking the road of grief after loss can be a painful and difficult journey.  However, having a map of the grief territory and having comforting travel partners can make the journey easier.

Pathways of Hope, the grief support program of Hospice of Dayton, will offer a grief workshop at St. Margaret’s Episcopal Church, 5301 Free Pike, Dayton from 6:30 to 7:30 pm, August 29 and September 5.  The program is free and open to all.

This workshop will give grievers and their comforters important information on the common expressions of grief, the important tasks of the grieving process, the timetable of grief and training in how to be an effective comforter.  Debbie Holt, a bereavement counselor with Pathways of Hope Grief Support of Hospice of Dayton will lead the programs.  Debbie has a Master’s degree in Counseling with over 20 years of counseling experience and has been with Pathways of Hope for seven years. She was also a minister’s wife.  Debbie brings not only professional expertise to her speaking, but personal experience as well, having lost her husband, father and brother in the past 8 years.  “Loss accumulates in our lives and carries a profound impact,” Debbie says. “The loss of family members, friends and community members touches our lives and affects our emotional, spiritual and physical wellbeing.  Understanding loss and our own reactions can help us cope and can help us better support others.”

For additional information contact Pathways of Hope at Hospice of Dayton, 937-258-4991.



Bowl Event Benefits Hospice of Dayton

The sixteenth annual Bowl for Hospice is a wonderful way to honor and remember a loved one while supporting the mission of Hospice of Dayton. Started by Jon Poelking in memory of his brothers Joe and Jerry, Bowl for Hospice has been an annual fun-filled afternoon for participants young and old.  Jon Poelking passed away in 2010 and the event has continued in his honor. This will be the final year for the benefit memorializing Jon Poelking and his brothers, which has generated over $700,000 to support patient care and services since its inception.Bowl for Hospice will take place from 1:00 to 3:00 pm at Woodman Lanes, 3200 Woodman Dr., in Kettering on Sunday, October 6. WDTN TV Meteorologist Jamie Jarosik and former Chief Meteriologist Carl Nichols will serve as special event emcees.  Each participating bowler receives complimentary Papa John’s Pizza, an event t-shirt and two hours of bowling with their $50 registration donation. Event highlights also include a 50/50 raffle, a trip giveaway, door prizes and much more.  All proceeds will benefit patient care at Hospice of Dayton.  As Dayton’s primary hospice, Hospice of Dayton is a non-profit organization providing superior care and superior services for patients and families in the Miami Valley.

Additional information about registration, sponsorship, company participation and pledge sheets is available by contacting Lori Poelking-Igel at 937-258-5537 or