One resident recalled hunting with his dogs when Charlie sidled up to him. He remembered the thrill of the chase, the weaving through fields of stubble. Another remembered her favorite dachshund, and another, the pups she raised as a child. Volunteer Laura K. said Charlie the golden retriever brings out memories and evokes smiles whenever on duty.

The Shorehaven volunteer brings her six year old golden to the nursing home because, “It makes the residents light up. We’re happy when we make other people happy, it’s a win-win for both of us.” As for Charlie, she said he absolutely “touches your heart.” “When Charlie smiles, the residents smile. When Charlie comes to comfort, they feel that comfort. When Charlie comes to calm someone lonely or anxious, they respond to his touch. Charlie can bring back the residents’ glory days by just entering the room.”

As for Laura, she said the visits are a service commitment for her, too. “Charlie gives me a sense of purpose too. I know that this is my job to share him. We both love hearing residents’ stories.” Charlie will place his sweet head on their laps, or sit next to a bed in a time of sorrow. “He just wants to give of himself, and I’ve learned from him,” she noted. “We come to help fill that void that some residents have, to make their day a little bit better.”