For the people in the nursing home, letting Bear bring a smile to their face was
a way to help them get through the rough times they may have had
Patty Bailey sure does love bears--well, more like one Bear in particular. An adopted Flat-coated Retriever/Newfoundland mix, whom she traveled from New Jersey to Georgia to find, and who definitely had what some might describe as a higher calling.
“From the moment we picked up Bear he was so full of love and compassion, we just had to share him with others,” said Patty. “What we decided to do was very simple: bring Bear to hospitals and nursing homes to interact with children and seniors.”
Through the Pass It Along organization, Patty would bring Bear to visit with folks of all ages who need a little extra joy in their lives. Her favorite part was seeing faces light up and listening to seniors' fond pet memories of their own. Bear was so loved that he was once voted “Volunteer of the Month!”
Patty grew up in northern New Jersey taught elementary school for 30 years before retiring in 2001. Even in retirement she has a lot of energy and likes to get involved and help her community. Along with her work for Pass It Along, Patty volunteers at a local church soup kitchen, and is a bell ringer for the Salvation Army.
“I wanted to give back, share the love that I have for dogs,” Patty said. “For the people in the nursing home, letting Bear bring a smile to their face was a way to help them get through the rough times they may have had.”
In her free time, Patty likes to go on camping trips in New England and Canada. She and her husband Ron, who will be joining her on the cruise, also enjoy boating with family and friends. And, as you might suspect, they love their dog! Bear, their gentle giant, passed away- but his spirit lives on through Jolly, also a rescued Flat-coated Retriever and now a certified pet therapy dog.