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Puppy Love

65+ Center for Active Aging Introduces the Cuddliest Member of the Therapy Team

A new puppy was just the thing to soothe their pain, as well as their patients’ pain.

When Dr. Matthew and Lisa Corn’s beloved German shepherd, Patchouli, passed away unexpectedly two years ago, they began a search for a new puppy to help heal their family, as well as their patients at their 65+ Center for Active Aging. The result was Pranna, now 16 months old.

“We knew we wanted a pet we could train as a therapy dog,” says Lisa, 65+’s practice administrator and mother of four. “We researched border collies and because they are so intelligent, we knew right away Pranna would be the right fit for our practice and our family.”

Born and raised in Venice, Pranna is a true Venice original.

The Corns have owned several dogs from various backgrounds. This time, their needs led them to a local acquaintance, whose lovable border collie just had a litter of puppies.

“When I expressed what I wanted, my friend said, ‘I have the puppy for you,’” Lisa says. “People just look at Pranna and smile. We have had her since she was 8 weeks old. Pranna’s family has herding titles, confirmation titles and agility titles. She has a lot to live up to, but she was born to do this.”

More than a family pet, Pranna is part of a movement in aging and wellness.

Lisa had been noticing a growing trend of therapy animals working in schools, libraries and nursing homes.

“When people get older, they want to maximize their quality of life,” Lisa says. “I had an interest in including an animal in our practice and knew Pranna could help improve our patients’ lives. She is at the practice for patients to interact with on whatever level they desire. She’s a family dog at home and a working dog at the practice. Pranna loves her job.”

Pranna’s gentle nature complements the comfort she provides patients.

“Some of our patients like for Pranna to jump up on the table and lay next to them while they receive manual therapy from the physical therapy staff,” Lisa says. “One client was recovering after knee replacement and the therapist was ranging her knee, which can be painful. Pranna jumped up on the table and laid next to her. She petted Pranna, and it brought her a high level of comfort. Pranna is in tune with people. Even at home, she has had a calming effect on our family.” 

Pranna will have completed her certifications by the time you read this article.

To comply with therapy animal regulations, Pranna has been in training since she was just 12 weeks old. She earned her S.T.A.R. Puppy certification; has taken obedience, agility and confirmation classes; and earned her Canine Good Citizen (CGC) certificate. She is about to complete her therapy dog training through the Humane Society.

“At work, Pranna wears a ‘Therapy Dog in Training’ vest,” Lisa says. “She knows when that vest is on, it’s time to work.”

Not only is Pranna gorgeous and smart, but she is also loving and delightful. 

Pranna is a blue merle border collie. Her coat is a special coloration for the breed.

“If you look at this picture of her, I really think she posed for the camera. If you talk to her, she turns her head in a way that makes it feel like she is really listening to you. She’s still a puppy, but she’s already an excellent therapy dog. Everyone adores Pranna.”  

65+ Center for Active Aging

1978 Tamiami Trail S, Suite 6, Venice, 941.451.6691, 65PlusWellness.com

Janet and Bob Diehl are the founders of Adoptable "Greythounds" of Florida.

Janet and Bob retired to North Port from St. Louis and founded Adoptable "Greythounds" of Florida in 2016. Lucy, pictured here, is one of their dogs. In 2018, Florida voters passed Amendment 13, which ended greyhound racing in the state. More than 8,000 greyhounds will now be retired from racing in Florida. Their nonprofit serves the Venice region, locating foster and adoptive homes for greyhounds.

The nonprofit helps prepare racing greyhounds for adoption and life as pets.

“When they are retired, they go through a transition period,” says Janet, owner of four greyhounds. “They are used to being around many dogs. After we get dogs from the trainers, we take them to the vet, they are spayed and neutered, their vaccinations are made current, and then they go to foster homes where they learn about swimming pools, glass doors and other new experiences. We ask $295 as the adoption fee to cover costs."

Greyhounds make great pets, and with a 98% placement rate, the time to adopt a greyhound is right now.

“We are working to make sure no dog is left behind,” Janet says. “We can put you in touch with the dog’s former trainer. The trainers are more than happy to answer questions about the dog’s life because they care. Adoptive parents will receive papers from the National Greyhound Association. The bloodlines go back to the early 1800s.” 

Adoptable "Greythounds" of Florida

573.535.4812, AdoptableGreyhoundsOfFlorida.com

Lisa and Trevor Redvers adopted Lucy.

“It’s always been important for us to rescue dogs,” Lisa says. “Lucy was regal and elegant. Her first week was a real adjustment. She had never lived in a home. We committed to loving her. After about a week and a half, she started to play with us and our other dog, Rosie. One night she woke us up in the middle of the night. She was twisting herself in the draperies like playing hide and seek. Little things scared her, like the icemaker."

Greyhounds have a temperament that suits older people well.

“Greyhounds are goofy. Lucy will climb on the ottoman like a goat,” Lisa says. “We call her ‘Loopy.’ They have a sense of humor like no other dog. They’re couch potatoes. They need short bursts of energetic activity but do well even in smaller homes. They are great for older people because they are gentle creatures that need a lot of downtime.”

Greyhounds are loyal and loving.

“Lucy is one of the most beautiful things that has ever happened in our lives,” Lisa says. “She loves us as much as we love her. She just never had a home before. She did not know what to do, did not know what was expected of her. If you are thinking of adopting, speak with people who have greyhounds. Greythounds of Florida really helped us understand how to help Lucy settle in. She has added so much to our lives.”

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