As United Methodist Retirement Communities (UMRC) expands its Kresge Healthcare and Rehabilitation Center (Kresge Center) and completes the next phase of renovations, some residents have moved to new, private quarters, with the help of UMRC staff serving as “moving buddies.” UMRC Foundation office manager, Jennifer Amormino, was one of those thoughtful team members who offered to help.
“I wasn’t assigned to help Ruth,” says Jennifer, whose own moving buddy finished her move earlier than expected. Jennifer then asked if she could help another resident. That’s when Jennifer and Kresge resident Ruth Allen discovered their common love of – dachshunds!
“I was helping unpack her boxes and found a dachshund figurine that had seasonal outfits to go with it,” says Jennifer. As she continued unpacking, Jennifer found a framed picture of Ruth’s beloved pet, Lacy, a brindle-colored dachshund.
As fate would have it, Jennifer has a 10-year-old dachshund named Oscar, also with brindle coloring. She and her husband, David, fostered dachshunds until 2017 when their son, Adrian, was born. “During a three-year span, we fostered 10 dachshunds and dachshund mix dogs,” says Jennifer. For a time, Jennifer even served as a board member for a local dachshund rescue organization.
“Ruth shared with me how much she missed her dog,” says Jennifer. So, she asked if she could bring Oscar to work to provide a little pet therapy. “I asked Ruth if she would mind a visit, and she agreed.”
“He looks just like my Lacy!” Ruth exclaimed as Jennifer brought Oscar for a visit. “Oscar sat in Ruth’s lap and she petted him. It was a positive experience that they both enjoyed.”
Jennifer, who just began working in the UMRC Foundation office in January, says how nice it was to have the opportunity to bring her pet to work to brighten Ruth’s day. “I’ve never worked somewhere that people care so much about each other and so deeply for the residents we serve. It is wonderful to be in an environment that is surrounded in kindness.”