Everyday Heroes

Seniors Get A Surprise Visit And The Photos Are Paws-itively Adorable

These officers wanted to bring some cheer and show their support for those who have been struggling during the pandemic.

When it comes to the "dogs or cats" debate, I'm definitely a champion of the former. Sure, cats are nice, but I love the personal interaction and loyalty you get from a pup – not to mention the sloppy kisses and snuggles!

That's why I was happy when I saw that Stark County (OH) Sherriff's deputies were taking their K9 officers to visit residents at a local assisted living facility.

Nursing home residents watched from inside as the dogs performed tricks on the patio. Stark County Sheriff's Office/Facebook

On Thursday, Sergeant Mike Greene, Deputy Sherri Humes and two K9 officers stopped by Allay Senior Care in Canton to visit with the seniors who live there. The dogs showed off some tricks and were on their best behavior as the officers chatted with residents through the care center windows.

"It is important that we continue to reach out and engage with our community anytime, but especially right now when we are forced to stay apart," Sheriff George T. Maier told WHBC. "Small acts of kindness go a long way and we wanted to show, in a safe way, that we remain dedicated to the citizens we serve."

Stark County deputies are making an effort to check in on the community's most vulnerable residents during the crisis. Stark County Sheriff's Office/Facebook

Melissa Redd, Admissions Director at Allied Senior Care, said visitor restrictions have been especially tough on those with dementia and people with cognitive impairments who function best when they have social interaction.

"It was so wonderful to see everyone's faces light up when the beautiful dogs came up to their windows," Redd said. "The support of our community has been amazing."

Many nursing home residents haven't seen their loved ones in over a month due to strict visitor restrictions. Stark County Sheriff's Office/Facebook

The Sheriff's Office later shared some photos from their visit to Facebook. The post was flooded with likes and comments from community members who praised the officers' kind gesture.

"So so very thoughtful and it sure brings smiles to their faces," one user wrote. "Thank you for your service, stay safe and God Bless America.💖💞😊"

"Wonderful!! I care for my mother in her home, and it's been tough," another person commented.

Kudos to the officers for showing seniors that they're not forgotten during the pandemic. I know a visit from those beautiful dogs would have brightened my day!

Isolation has been especially hard on nursing home residents with dementia. Stark County Sheriff's Office/Facebook

How can you start something good?

Inspired by the Stark County Officers?

While the best thing you can do to keep the older population safe is to stay home and practice social distancing, there are other ways to support seniors citizens during the crisis.

You can pick up your elderly neighbors' groceries, or teach your grandparents how to use technology so that they can stay connected with family members digitally. Reach out to your local nursing homes and ask how you can help. Some residents and workers might need PPE, or you can help to supply meals and other supplies.

Or you can simply listen to the older people in your life when they need to talk. Sometimes a phone call is all it takes to brighten someone's mood and let older people know that we're thinking about them.

Let's #StartSomethingGood together!

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