Volunteer brings dogs to nursing home


A Clearfield County man is on a mission to brighten the days of seniors at several nursing homes in our area with help from his four-legged friends.

We were there as he visited with several seniors today.

Fred Dixon now comes about once a month to the home we visited. He says he keeps a busy schedule from Clearfield to Curwensville and DuBois.

Dixon’s audience on Friday morning was at the Knickerbocker Villa in clearfield and his co-stars were what he calls a mast-weiler and a shepherd wolf dog.

“Every time the dogs come in, they pick those folks up. If you notice when they was in there, them people they smiled. When you first come in, they’re kind of just slumped over,” says Dixon.

“I don’t have any children and my wonderful husband passed away so I do as I want to,” says resident Marjorie Lee.

And today for Lee, that means watching Dixon and his dogs. He says he’s been teaching them sign language.

“I love the dogs. They were very gentle and nice I have a lot of nice things to say about the dogs. They’re wonderful,” says resident Elsie Roach.

“Shinook yeah I’ll take him into different rooms and he knows what to do, but Thor, he’s too big,” says Dixon. “He’s 188 pounds, but he’s on a diet.”

Dixon, 58, Grampian, says he spent 30 years working at Kurtz Brothers, which makes school supplies.

Now in retirement, he says he’s been bringing dogs to visit in several nursing homes for about five years, and used to go to the VA in Altoona with one of the dogs.

“I think when I first came here, they had them and it’s wonderful what they can do with these animals,” says resident Gwen Condon.

“Very good. I’ve seen it before and was just really impressed with the action,” says resident Bill Franson.

“They are so much fun. They just make everybody smile, just to pet them and they know the dogs love them,” says activites director Bobbi Swatsworth.

Lee says she used to have her own dogs and now it’s fun for her to see these ones.

“I’ve seen them before. Whatever happens here, I live here right in here,” says Lee.

“Look at the faces, and that’s my pay,” says Dixon.

Staff members say these visits have therapeutic benefits for the seniors and Dixon says the dogs seem to enjoy it too.

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