No. 579



There just has to be a special place in Heaven reserved for people like Luba Cook, who has made volunteering her life's calling. Luba first wrote to me several years ago when she was serving as a volunteer for the animal shelter in Hot Springs National Park, Arkansas. Then she wrote to me again, just recently, to tell me about something exciting that she is now doing that is bringing a little happiness and cheer to Hospice patients in the area. In case you don't know, Hospice is a wonderful service that provides comfort and dignity to individuals who are terminal, and in their final days of life.
I believe you can find Hospice programs in every state throughout the nation, and I personally know they do great work. Several of our friends have passed away in the past few months, and Hospice was there to take care of them. There is a Hospice home care service as well as for nursing homes and rehab centers.
Here is Luba's story that was such a blessing to me and I believe it will bless you, too, especially if you are way up in years or have parents or loved ones who are nearing the end of their lives.
When Luba was a volunteer at the animal shelter, she adopted a 3-month-old stray poodle-terrier mix puppy, and named her Katie. She then proceeded to teach this young dog a number of tricks, and a few weeks later she became a hospice volunteer dog with two agencies, Hospice Home Care and Odyssey Healthcare. Some of these tricks include dancing, bowing, and waving hello and goodbye. Now I share this background because here is the picture I want you to see.
During Katie's two years of volunteer work she has made visits to nursing homes, schools, businesses, different programs and home visits. Katie will perform her tricks on an individual basis if she likes the individual or child. Once inside a facility, Luba transports Katie from visit to visit while riding in a stroller, with a leash attached. This past year she has made more than 400 visits. Now, you think about that for a moment. Here is an elderly lady, probably close to 80 years of age, who loads a stroller into her car, takes Katie and visits all these various people who have special needs, and does it as a volunteer.
As I said earlier, there just has to be a special place in Heaven reserved for the Luba Cooks of this world. Her service has become a big hit with the staff of these institutions, and Katie is now the official mascot of Fountain Lake Health and Rehab Center. Here is what Rebecca Thompson, volunteer coordinator for Hospice Home Care, had to say about Luba and Katie and the service they provide.
"Thank you so much for all that you and 'Katie' have done for Hospice Home Care Inc. You are such an asset to our pet pal program and I have really enjoyed working with you and Katie both. She's such a sweet-spirited dog and your dedication to our local nursing home patients is a true blessing. I know they love to watch 'Katie' smile and wave at them and dance around their rooms on her hind legs. She's done a great job as our only Pet Pal for the past year and I look forward to the years to come. Again, thank you for your time and dedication to our organization and our patients."
This past Christmas our Sunday school class went to visit some of the patients in a local nursing home. Many of these patients are "forgotten" people with no family and few, if any, visitors who come to see them. When I came away I simply said, "There but for the Grace of God go I." This is why Luba Cook and her little dog Katie are doing such a wonderful thing for those who won't be with us much longer.
If you have time and compassion for these people, please look into hospice or the different programs where you will make a difference. God bless you Luba!
(EDITOR'S NOTE: Jim Davidson is a motivational speaker and syndicated columnist. You may contact him at 2 Bentley Drive, Conway, Ark. 72034. To support literacy, buy his book, "Learning, Earning & Giving Back.")