Canton, Ohio: East Canton resident, Dusty Kintigh, knew there was something special about her Rottweiler, Sassy. She knew that Sassy had the ability to help other people with her loving and gentle personality. “I prayed that the Lord would open doors for her to help people – she has so much more to offer than I could alone,” commented Kintigh. Currently a volunteer for Mercy Hospice, Kintigh felt Sassy would be the perfect addition to the Hospice program. Four-year-old Sassy has been through AKC training and is finishing up her Delta Training right now so she can be a part of Hospice and visit patients and their families. Currently, Sassy and Kintigh visit the Goodwill reading program, Walker Elementary School (Canton) and Canton Christian Home. The duo also frequently visits Kintigh’s granddaughter, Louisville resident and pre-school student, Riley Burton, and her classmates, at Regina Coeli School in Alliance.
Kintigh, who has been volunteering at Mercy Hospice for several months now, cannot wait to begin bringing Sassy to her patients and families, “There is already a waiting list of five or six patients who would like me to bring Sassy to them,” she said, “Hospice is wonderful, I get so much more out of it than what I give.” According to Kintigh, Sassy always reacts to patients with love and compassion, “You can just see the stress leave their (patients’) faces – sometimes enough to drift off to a peaceful sleep.” Not only does Sassy bring comfort to patients, but to their family members as well. “Family members may be exhausted and stressed, but as soon as they see Sassy walk in, the atmosphere changes,” stated Kintigh, “All of the cares and worries of that moment seem to disappear for the family when they pet her – she is a Godsend and a much needed distraction for them.”
“Being a part of Mercy Hospice makes you look at things differently,” said Kintigh, “everyday is a gift – the little things you used to take for granted – now you don’t.” The staff and volunteers at Mercy have embraced both Kintigh and Sassy with open arms, “I have never seen a group of people that are so much like family – they took me right in – I am so in awe of the ‘family’ atmosphere,” commented Kintigh, “Until you volunteer for Mercy Hospice, you can’t understand it; It has physically and emotionally changed me for the better.”
More than 4,000 hospice care providers and their 550,000 volunteers provide care to over a million terminally ill patients in the United States. Volunteers like those at Mercy Hospice do more than perform a service. They have a passion and a calling to care for the physical, psychological, social and spiritual needs of terminally ill patients and their families.
Kintigh is just one of the 65 volunteers who make Mercy Hospice the caring and compassionate program it is today. The Mercy Hospice program is dedicated to helping patients with a life-limiting illness achieve the best quality of life possible while offering respite and comfort to their caregivers and loved ones. Serving adults and children with a terminal illness, hospice gives patients the opportunity to remain at home, or in a home-like setting, with the people and things they cherish most. For more information about Mercy Hospice, or to learn about volunteering opportunities, please call 330-649-4380 or visit cantonmercy.org.
Mercy Medical Center, a ministry of the Sisters of Charity Health System, operates a 476-bed hospital serving Stark, Carroll, Wayne, Holmes and Tuscarawas Counties and parts of Southeastern Ohio. It has 620 members on its Medical Staff and employs 2,500 people. Mercy operates outpatient health centers in Carrollton, Jackson Township, Lake Township, Louisville, North Canton, Plain Township and Tuscarawas County. A Catholic hospital, Mercy Medical Center upholds the mission and philosophy of the Sisters of Charity of St. Augustine and continues to be responsive to the needs of the community. For more information, see cantonmercy.org.
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