The Dog Whose Name Means “Health”

Charlotte Keane and her therapy dog Sláinte made visits as a Pet Partners team for nearly 10 years. Sláinte means “health” in the Irish and Scottish Gaelic languages, and this loving cocker spaniel helped improve the health and well-being of many people during her time as a therapy dog. Charlotte shared some memories and thoughts about working with Sláinte.

October 30, 2010 was the first Pet Partner visit for me and Sláinte. June 15, 2020 was our last library “Read to the Dog” virtual visit. In between we logged over 480 hours and over 4,300 miles of Pet Partners visits to many people, places, organizations, Zoom meetings, and even TV!

I never counted people and can’t imagine the actual numbers over the years of those who we met and visited with, as well as those who stopped us on the way in or out of a visit, or in a hallway, while we were onsite. And most special of all was meeting all the other wonderful therapy pet teams!

After almost 10 years of being a Pet Partners therapy dog, eight years with the Hinsdale Humane Society’s outreach programs, six years working with special needs and vision impaired students through DuPage Paws for People, and overcoming blindness three years ago, Sláinte’s career is coming to an end. She is almost completely deaf, which is making life more difficult. And now she must deal with arthritis pain on top of everything else. After talking with her vet, I decided to retire Sláinte from Pet Partners because it’s best for her.

I’m very emotional because Sláinte and I have been working together so long doing so much enjoyable and meaningful work (thanks to Pet Partners), but my girl is feeling her age (11). I will gladly continue to give her tender loving care to keep her safe, healthy, and happy. I’m just sad for this special part of our shared lives together to end. But all in all, I believe that Sláinte helped others and hope she’s fondly remembered.