A slice of local life -- Maggy and Jean team up to cheer up at Providence Hood River

JEAN STONE and Maggy relax in front of PHRMH.

Photo by Kirby Neumann-Rea.
JEAN STONE and Maggy relax in front of PHRMH.

Jean Stone might be known for her volunteer, club and farming activities, but it’s her role as “Maggy’s mom” that gets her the most recognition.

“People will say, ‘I know you from somewhere,’” said Stone. “Then they’ll say, ‘Oh, you’re Maggy’s mom!’”

Maggy — a friendly, 90-pound chocolate Lab — is a Delta Society-certified therapy dog. Stone and Maggy visit Providence Hood River Memorial Hospital one morning each week, a routine that has spanned six of Maggy’s seven years.

“I call us the social butterflies of the hospital,” said Stone. “We’re just there to visit with people.”

The two visit patients, visitors and staff in areas where Maggy is allowed: the main lobbies, the upstairs rooms, some of the offices, and the x-ray and emergency waiting rooms. Maggy even has her own Providence name badge, complete with photo identification, as one of the hospital’s many volunteers.

“The patients are all so happy to see her,” said Stone. “I try to rotate my days because the staff likes to see her, too.”

Being good-tempered is especially important in Maggy’s line of work, as she often interacts with children. When kids are around, Stone has Maggie sit or lay down — and watch as they sneak up to pet (or maul) her, with Maggy’s tail wagging nonstop.

Stone has Maggy stickers for children, too. “She’s so big so some kids are afraid of her,” she said. “They might not like the dog, but they like stickers.”

Stone is often asked for information regarding the dog therapy program, but so far, she’s never seen another team. Her own start began about 10 years ago, with a different family pet — Merry, the yellow Lab — at the Hood River Care Center.

Stone’s mother was living at the care center, and, while she would not respond to people, she would respond to Merry. So Stone began to visit her mother with Merry in tow.

Around that time, daughter Barb Smith, now a nurse at Providence Hood River Memorial Hospital, told Stone of a new dog therapy program under way at the hospital.

“I started with it because Barb mentioned it, and once I started, I enjoyed it,” said Stone.

Therapy dogs must be certified. Once Stone and Merry received certification through The Dalles hospital — both handler and dog must pass the required test to be accepted into the program — they began to volunteer.

Stone and Merry visited the hospital together for a little over two years before Merry passed away. But Stone knew she wanted to continue in this capacity, selecting Maggy with hospital visits in mind. And Maggy, with her sweet nature, is a perfect hospital dog, said Stone.

“She walked into it like she was an old hand, with her tail wagging,” said Stone. “I’ve never had to reprimand her at the hospital.”

Maggy is a Delta Society-certified therapy dog, as required by Providence. Delta Society is a nationwide certification program for hospitals, and as a Delta dog, Maggy is allowed in numerous establishments, although Stone only takes her to the Hood River hospital site.

As with the certification Stone and Merry received from The Dalles, the Delta Society tests handlers and dogs as a pair — the test covers basic obedience and the dog’s ability to remain calm in various scenarios — and both must pass. One dog can also be certified with more than one handler, added Stone.

Stone has continued volunteering with the dog therapy program for the past decade because it’s a fun way to give back to the community.

“It’s just something that I’ve gotten into and really enjoy doing,” she said. “Maggy is so much fun to do it with, and I’ve made so many friends at the hospital over the years.

“It does take a special dog and maybe a special person,” Stone said. “I don’t think of myself as special, but I’ve worked with (Maggy) the minute I brought her home.”

To get ready for hospital volunteer work, the pair enrolled in Community Education dog obedience classes. Stone also received permission to bring Maggy into Hood River Supply for socialization.

“Now I don’t dare go in the door (at Hood River Supply) without her because everyone asks, ‘Where’s Maggy?’”

When Maggy isn’t volunteering at the hospital, she is very much a farm dog.

“She’s just a Lab,” said Stone. “She loves to retrieve. She loves to chase the four-wheeler. But when I put a leash on her, she goes into mode. It doesn’t matter if I take her to Home Depot or the hospital.

“She’s quite the character.”

Latest stories

Latest video:

Parkdale third graders sing "12 Disaster Days of Christmas"

Welcome to your sing-able Christmas gift list. What follows is an emergency rendition of “12 Days of Christmas” – for outfitting your home or car in case of snow storm, earthquake, flood or other emergency. Read it as a simple list, or sing it to the tune of “12 Days” – you know, as in “ … and a partridge in a pear tree…” Not to make light of it, but the song is a familiar framework for a set of gift ideas that you could consider gathering together, even if the recipient already owns items such as a bunch of coats, tire chains and flashlights. Stores throughout the Gorge are stocked up on all these items. Buying all 12 days might be prohibitive, but here are three ideas for checking any of the dozen off your list (notations follow, 1-12.) The gift items needed to stay warm, dry and safe are also coded to suggest items in your abode (A) in your car (C) or both (B). 12 Gallons of Water (A) 11 Family meals (B) 10 Cans of propane (A) 9 Hygiene bags (B) 8 Packs of batteries (A) 7 Spare coats (B) 6 Bright red flares (C) 5 Cozy blankets (B) 4 Tire chains (C) 3 Flashlights (B) 2 cell phone chargers (B) 1 And a crush-proof first aid kit (B) Price ranges? Here’s a few quotes for days Three, Two, Four and Nine: n A family gift of flashlights (three will run $15-30, Hood River Supply, Tum-A-Lum) n Cell phone chargers (two will run $30-60) n Tire chains (basic set, $30, Les Schwab, returnable if unused for the winter) n Family meals ($100 or so should cover the basics for three or four reasonably well-fed days) n The home kit should be kept in a handy place near an exit, and remember that water needs to be replenished every few months. If you have a solid first aid kit already, switch out the gift idea with “and-a-sto-o-u-t- tub-for it-all …” Otherwise, it’s a case of assembling your home or car kits and making sure all members of the family know what the resources are and how to use them (ie flares and propane). Emergency situations are at worst life-threatening, at best deeply uncomfortable if you and your family are left without power for an extended period, or traveling and find yourself in a situation where you need to wait out a storm, lengthy traffic delay, or other crisis. Notes on the 12 gift ideas: 12 – Gallons of water: that’s one per person in a four-member family to last for three days, the recommended minimum to be prepared for utility outages. 11 – Easy-open packaged goods, energy bars, dried food and nuts are good things to include for nutrition. Think of what your family of four needs for three days to stay fortified and hydrated (see number 12). Can-opener also recommended 10 – If you have a propane camping stove, keep extra fuel handy. 9 – Hygiene bags: put packaged moistened towelettes, toilet paper, and plastic ties in large garbage bags (for personal sanitation) Resource list courtesy of Hood River County Emergency Management, Barbara Ayers, manager/ 541-386-1213. The county also reminds residents to Get a Kit, Make A Plan to connect your family if separated, and Stay Informed. See www.co.hood-river.or.us to opt-in for citizen alerts. Enlarge

Log in to comment

News from our Community Partners