Submitted by Patty DeFrenza
“I needed a breed that was small and hypoallergenic, to train as a therapy dog for kids and adults that have illnesses,” Ms. DeFrenza tells Beachcomber. “Sacred Paws at Sacred Heart Hospital has a program for pets visiting patients but they must pass a series of tests before they can be approved to visit patients.”
Miss CoCo Chanel is a nine-month-old Yorkshire Terrier who is friendly and fun but “needs more time getting used to canes, unstable walkers and wheelchairs.”
The black and white pup is a seven-month-old Havanese. “Sommer Rayne has been training for a few months now with me, and she’s visited with aging adults, small children and several people with cancer,” says Ms. DeFrenza. “So far, she’s a natural. The Havanese is a gentle breed, playful with a great temperament—even with children.”
Several of Sommer Rayne’s visits were through a local charitable group called The Sanctuary Friends. The nonprofit, created by local ER doctor Richie Hughes, gives people afflicted by cancer a beautiful vacation in Destin to relax and enjoy with family at no charge. Learn more at sanctuaryfriendsnetwork.com.
“As a retired firefighter and paramedic, I’ve spent most of my life rescuing people, and now it’s time to give comfort to others by simply handing them a bundle of Furry Love,” says Ms. DeFrenza.