Puppy love at 15 Craigside

Kupuna Caregiver

Sometimes it takes a group effort to care for our kupuna, including help from our family pets.

“You’re going to lick me? Good girl,” laughs Joan Takara, 15 Craigside resident.

They call it puppy love. Meet Lilo, San-de and Abbey.

“Abbey, yeah I love Abbey,” smiles Sam Fujii,15 Craigside resident.

Pet therapy is making a difference for the kupuna at 15 Craigside.      

“I see smiles on their faces, I see that it brings joy to them. They want to brush her, pet her and they bring out a lot of emotion and thoughts. When they have an issue or whatever they want to talk about, they talk to the dog, and dogs don’t make any judgements,” laughs Gina Heshiki, Activity Supervisor at 15 Craigside.

Wes Koga has been bringing San-de and Lilo to the facility for 7 years.

“There was a resident who was having a bad day and as soon as she heard the dogs were here, it was like a switch. Her behavior, attitude and was a lot happier,” says Wes Koga, pet therapy volunteer.

“They provide energy. I think a lot of the old people think they’re back in the neighborhood because they don’t have a dog here,” says Glenn Koga, 15 Craigside resident. 

Glenn Koga is one of the residents who does have a dog named Mikey.

“For one thing, if they wouldn’t take him we wouldn’t be here,” laughs Koga, “We adopted him and he’s really changed our life.”

You can see it in their smiles, residents are having a doggone good time.

“This way we can say let’s go walk the dog, and they say let’s go walk the dog. It coaches them to to say I got to exercise, I got to get out of bed and it helps the therapist,” says Heshiki.

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