A Dog Named Gizmo

March 2022

Joe and his dog Gizmo

We have all heard stories of heroic dogs – saving a baby from a burning building, fighting off a grizzly bear…this is the story of a different kind of hero, a dog who healed a heart. 

Meet Gizmo. His Dad, Joe, was a patient at our Hospice Residence. Joe was initially reluctant to come to Hospice. When he was admitted to our residence, it was clear that he simply did not want to be there, he was quiet and withdrawn…it didn’t feel like home.  

Before coming to Hospice Joe lived in an apartment, just him and his dog Gizmo. Joe and his four-legged best friend were a family, a dynamic duo.

A few days into Joe’s stay with us, his daughter Teresa asked if she could bring Gizmo to visit. Of course, our pet-loving team said yes. 

From the moment Gizmo’s little feet pitter-pattered their way into Joe’s room at Hospice, it became so obvious to us why Joe didn’t want to be at Hospice… he wanted to be home with Gizmo. 

So…we brought Gizmo home to Joe. 

Gizmo stayed full time with Joe in his suite at Hospice, and we saw the impact right away. Joe was his old self – happier, more talkative, and content to be there with his pup. 

“Gizmo was like an undercover angel,” said our Spiritual and Religious Care Practitioner, Maria. “You could see the difference in Joe, and when Gizmo looked at him there was nothing but unconditional love.”

Gizmo is a quiet little soul, and he always seemed to know exactly what Joe needed. When he was having a bad day, the only place to find Gizmo was curled up on Joe’s bed. The pets in our lives can help in so many ways – they can ease stress and improve overall outlook, and we saw it every day with Joe and Gizmo. 

During Gizmo’s stay, staff and volunteers chipped in to help by taking him outside for walks and ensuring he was fed. All of a sudden, it seemed everyone in the place had treats for him! This little ball of black and white fur might only be 8 lbs., but most of that is heart. This tiny dog brought so much joy to our entire team, and became a source of comfort for everyone. 

Gizmo lives with Joe’s daughter now, and is doing well. Gizmo was so loyal to Joe, initially, Teresa was worried about how he would adapt to living with her. It turns out, he’s everything to Teresa that he was to Joe, staying right by her side. Together, they are healing each other’s hearts.