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October 15, 2012

UNCONDITIONAL LOVE: Residents of Guerin Woods welcome two new four-legged residents

GEORGETOWN — Edith Taylor loves living at one of The Villas of Guerin Woods in Georgetown. She said the staff goes out of its way to take care of her needs.

“I think it’s wonderful,” she said.

But something, she said, was missing. That is until about four weeks ago.

That something is a 1-year-old hound named Joe, who also now calls Guerin Woods home. He is a mixed breed who was neglected during his young life. But since his arrival, he has brought nothing but pure joy to the residents of Guerin Woods.

“I told Sister Barbara [Ann Zeller] when you have a dog around it just makes the home complete,” Taylor said. “Now we have a dog. Many of us had animals before but we had to give them up to come here. Now if we are gone for a few weeks and come back, we know he will be here.”

Joe is one of two dogs now roaming The Villas. He and his partner in crime, a Labrador retriever named Jack, were recently adopted by The Villas from the Luther Luckett Correctional Facility in Oldham County, Ky. For four to eight weeks, the dogs lived with inmates who were responsible for their training and care. There are 12 dogs in the program and 250 to 300 have graduated from Luther Luckett since its inception. The prison gets its dogs from the Oldham County Humane Society.

Zeller — president and CEO of Guerin Inc./Providence Self Sufficiency Ministries, which operates The Villas — said the prison program “is wonderful.” She visited the dogs and inmates before receiving the two dogs, and came away impressed.

“The inmates are responsible for the animal 24/7. They train and live with the dogs,” Zeller said. “The inmates get so much out of it and the elders love the dogs.”

She said recently, one of the residents was watching a baseball game on television and petting Joe, who was sitting at his side. She said having the two dogs around the residents is therapeutic.

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