Jim and Maria* lived in Arroyo Grande in the home where they raised their children. Jim was slowing down in recent months and it was discovered that he had congestive heart failure and moderate kidney failure. Maria learned about Hospice SLO County from their home health nurse who thought some visits and support might help. But Jim was very opposed saying, “I don’t need a babysitter!”  

Maria was overwhelmed trying to help Jim and also walk their dog Chester, an 8-year-old golden retriever.  Their adult children were so busy with work and kids that they couldn’t walk Chester as often as was needed either. Hospice SLO County’s volunteer coordinator mentioned that perhaps one of our “Pet Peace of Mind” volunteers could help. Jim reluctantly agreed and Maria was thrilled. 

Our volunteer planned a schedule with Maria and the volunteer began walking Chester 3-4 days a week, along with helping to groom him. After the walks, Jim and the volunteer would chat about the dog, life, and stories about Jim’s work as a police officer.  

After about 6 months, Jim’s heart failure weakened him to the point that Maria felt uncomfortable leaving him alone. Jim talked to the pet volunteer who recommended that Jim consider a volunteer for himself. Maria set up a time to meet with our volunteer coordinator and Jim was eventually matched with one of our volunteers who had also served as a police officer.  

Maria could now comfortably run errands and see the doctor herself knowing both Chester and Jim had company. Jim’s volunteer took him out for drives to see the sights that Jim so enjoyed. Maria joined our caregiver support group, held on Zoom, which allowed her to receive support without having to leave Jim as often. 

*Names and photo changed to respect client's privacy.