Brody at Rockport
New Rockport ‘employee’ is a ‘paws’ for fun
By Sue Botos
The newest worker at Rockport Independent and Assisted Living has only been on the job for about two weeks, but he is already a favorite with residents.
Attired in his official red Rockport polo shirt, complete with buttons and collar, Brody is a good listener and is always up for a game of catch. As he makes his way down the hall, residents call him to come over for a greeting, which often consists of a few wet, sloppy kisses.
Brody, a 5-year-old English Pointer, accompanies his owner, Caroline Greco Pivovar, Rockport’s community relations coordinator, to work on Wednesdays and Fridays. “He’s definitely happier on the days he comes here,” Pivovar noted – and the feeling is mutual for Rockport residents.
“The response was overwhelming. The residents’ faces just lit up,” she said.
Pivovar, who was a dog groomer in Florida before coming to Ohio, adopted Brody after his owners there had to give him up as a puppy. He has only had two formal training classes, one in Florida and one at the Petsmart where Pivovar used to groom dogs, but he calmly lets residents cluster around him. “I have a special way of petting him,” said Lillian Miller, as she gave Brody an extra scratch under the collar.
Although Brody is not a certified therapy dog, Pivovar said he knows how to act around the senior residents, making way for walkers and wheelchairs.
But he also knows when it’s time to have fun.
Popping in on Rockport’s Eldercare group, Brody eagerly played a game of catch with Jose Garcia, who said he used to have a dog named Ace. Group member Pat Knapp, who had many animals growing up on a farm, gladly accepted some kisses from Brody.
Then it was off to the fenced courtyard, where Brody could romp without his leash and investigate trees, bushes and gardens. Pivovar noted that with his long legs and running style, he resembles a small greyhound. Resident Wanda Griffith was enjoying his frolicking.
“I love dogs so much. I love to watch him have fun. He puts a smile on everyone’s face,” she noted.
Those smiles extend to the staff, according to Pivovar. “He hung out with the nurses on his first day, and staff members tell me they may steal him,” she recalled. “He’s pretty much everywhere except the dining room, and that’s where my office is, so we’ve been kind of wandering,” Pivovar added.
Pivovar also grooms Clifford, The Harbor Court’s resident senior golden retriever, who is doing well after being rescued from the streets of Avon Lake last year. She said that while Clifford’s quiet manner is a good fit for the seniors of The Harbor Court’s memory unit, Rockport’s independent and assisted living residents enjoy Brody’s puppylike antics. She noted that some seniors, whom she had never heard speak before, come alive when her dog is around.
“They are so much more social. They light up when they see him and really come out of their shell,” she noted.
As for job security, Brody’s future looks pretty bright. “It looks like there is no end in sight because I get asked when he will be back again every time I am leaving to go home with him,” Pivovar said.
SIDEBAR: To catch pictures of Brody at “work,” check out Rockport’s Facebook page at www.facebook.com/RockportAssistedLivingandElderDaycare.