Partners and Paws Fall 2023

Bruce and Hank

Brandon Oaks and Hank (cont. from cover)

Bruce’s family made the gracious decision to return Hank to Saint Francis, so that he could continue the work they believed he was meant to do. Our team is committed to always finding the best possible place for each dog in our program, so when Hank returned to us, we took extra care to make sure he was prepared to be placed once again. After the time he needed to re-adjust and for our trainers to ensure he was able to continue his work, the matching process began again. “ He is just so friendly and so gentle. That was evident very quickly. I knew that would resonate very well with the staff and residents here at Brandon Oaks,” says Burks. As we considered Hank’s next step, it seemed that stepping into the job of facility dog would suit him well. Brandon Oaks is home to many residents that need various levels of care, including assisted living, long term care, and memory care. Through his expert training, Hank has mastered more than 40 highly specialized tasks and skills that have been easily integrated in the many activities that benefit the people living in the Brandon Oaks community. “We play bowling with him, we play cornhole, any fetching, or just taking him on walks with residents. That is a really nice way to get them out of their room and do some exercise,” says Mallory Maycock,

Brandon Oaks Assisted Living Activities Coordinator.

Beyond the physical support and assistance Hank provides, just his sheer presence has already made a big impact. In the short time he has been there, the team at

Brandon Oaks says they have seen so many beautiful moments that are a testament to Hank’s ability to encourage connection and independence.

“There was a resident in memory care who loved her dog and had to give her dog up because of the changes in her condition. She communicated and came out when Hank was around and just beamed. Those moments are powerful,” Burk s says.

Joan, a resident in Assisted Living, has simply nicknamed Hank “my happiness”, and like so many other residents, now looks forward to the mornings he greets her. “Everyone just lights up when they see Hank. It is really nice to see the joy on their faces when we knock on the door and say that Hank is here,” says Maycock. As this partnership grows, we can’t wait to see how many more lives Hank touches on the winding path that brought him to the place he is now meant to be.


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