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Senior Lifestyles

Rockynol residents enjoy pet visits

2/6/2014 - West Side Leader
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By Kathleen Folkerth

Rockynol resident Charlie Briggs takes a break from sorting newspapers to meet Figaro, the cat being held by One of A Kind Pets volunteer Kathy Musser.
Rockynol resident Beth Stone enjoys the company of Mama, a Pomeranian from One of A Kind Pets.
Vi Bahm enjoys spending time with Figaro during a weekly program in which One of A Kind Pet Rescue volunteers bring cats and dogs to visit Rockynol residents.
Photos: Kathleen Folkerth
WEST AKRON — Rockynol resident Vi Bahm was never a cat person. But since weekly visits with animals from One of A Kind Pet Rescue to the senior living community started six months ago, it seems she’s developed a bit of a reputation with the feline species.

“I’m a cat whisperer now,” dog-lover Bahm said as she snuggled with a cat named Figaro.

The weekly visits take place on Monday afternoons and were organized by One of A Kind volunteer Kathy Musser, who retired last year after working as the front desk person at Rockynol’s independent living area.

The program involves more than just having adoptable animals visiting the residents. Prior to the arrival of the animals each week, a group of residents assemble in the lobby area and start separating stacks of newspaper for One of A Kind, an animal rescue organization with an adoption center on West Market Street. Having the stacks sorted allows staff and volunteers at One of A Kind to easily grab and replace paper under puppies and dogs at the shelter.

“We have so many puppies right now,” Musser said. “We have to make quick changes. It’s just constant.”

She added the Rockynol residents take on the task with gusto.

“They won’t stop,” she said. “I usually go home with two wagons full.”

Lynda Schumacher, Rockynol’s director of advertising and public relations, said the relationship is good for both Rockynol and One of A Kind Pet Rescue.

“This creates such a sense of purpose for the residents,” she said.

During the Jan. 20 visit, Bud Kline was among the Rockynol residents who enjoyed meeting a dog named Mama, a white Pomeranian who shelter officials said was around 12 years old.

“I grew up around dogs,” Kline said.

An onlooker thought the two looked good together.

“You have a match there, Bud,” she said.

Musser said volunteers bring over different animals from One of A Kind each week. She added that the cats and dogs enjoy getting the chance to leave the shelter and meet some new people.

“The animals love being out,” she said. “And we haven’t had any accidents.”

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