A Saint, a Berner and a Volunteer

Walter, a 150 lb Saint Bernard, Holly, a 90 lb Bernese Mountain Dog and their handler, Maria Muff have been volunteering for five and a half years. They have been to elementary schools, libraries, hospitals, nursing homes, fundraisers, and they go to work every day at a mental health clinic providing emotional support for clients.

Walter and Holly love their job as greeters at the mental health clinic. They provide unconditional love for all of the clients that they are privileged to see. Each week they seek out someone new to greet in the petting circle, sensing that they needed their love and attention first. When the residents pet the dogs they light up smiling and talking to them, become very lucid with their thoughts and joyfully share stories of their pets growing up. Over the last five and a half years, they have been blessed to meet and make friends with many residents.

Recently, Maria became the patient and spent three days in the hospital. Walter and Holly were very unsettled without their normal routine. Maria’s husband understood how much they all needed a visit and brought the dogs to see her in the hospital. Walter and Holly immediately settled upon entering the room. They stayed for about thirty minutes and were happy and ready to go home. When they got home, they laid on the sweatshirt Maria wore to the hospital and were calm once again.

Walter and Holly have touched our lives and so many others in such a deep and meaningful way. Thank you so much for the opportunity to be part of this incredible organization and to give and receive endless amounts of joy.

Story provided by Maria Muff