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Joan & Rosie: Dedication Despite Challenges

Joan Sprinkle
Pet Partners handler
Joan Sprinkle and Rosie, a Pet Partners therapy animal team.
Joan Sprinkle and Rosie, a Pet Partners therapy animal team.

Joan Sprinkle and Rosie first became a Pet Partners team in 2014. While their service was interrupted for a time, first by health issues for Rosie and then by the COVD-19 pandemic, they remained dedicated to their work as a therapy animal team until Rosie’s passing. Joan shared the story below of their final team evaluation together, the impact of a Pet Partners team evaluator, and how much she cherished their work in Rosie’s final days.

Joan Sprinkle and Rosie, a Pet Partners therapy animal team.Rosie and I had our last evaluation for renewal on May 22, 2021. Our Evaluator was Pam Reinke.

Rosie was diagnosed with Sudden Acquired Retinal Degeneration Syndrome (SARDS) in October 2020. She lost her sight very quickly—it was not an easy adjustment for her. However, when it came to the evaluation, she did very well. I was so proud of her.

During this long COVID period, we continued to work on her skills and keep up on everything she needed to respond to during her reevaluation. She loved to work on her skills and keep them fresh in her mind. She continued to respond with her skills until just a few days before she passed away.

Pam was so good to Rosie and understood her condition. Rosie even responded to Pam when she asked her a “leave it” and “take it” command. Pam is not only professional, but caring, compassionate, and loving—characteristics needed to be a good evaluator for all our special pets.

I highly recommend Pam and thank her for all the love and interest she had in Rosie and for the good work she will continue to do in the years to come. I appreciate Pam and Pet Partners for the service they provided to our precious best friends who give their all to others in need.

Rosie ended her earthly journey on Wednesday, February 2.

She was ill for six days. The doctors tried very hard to turn this problem around. After many tests, ultrasound, and medications, it became clear she had anemia which could not be reversed. I noticed she was getting weaker every day. She fought this to the end.

On February 2, I woke her up early to eat her breakfast and go outside. I brought her back in the house where she decided to go back to bed while I got ready for my day. It was a beautiful day so I decided to take her on a walk in her buggy/stroller. We strolled around for about half an hour. During that time, she sat up and looked around, ears perked, and seemed to be very happy and enjoying her walk very much.

I took her back in the house where I fed her lunch. She drank water, and went outside in her yard. She was very weak by this time. I carried her over in the sunshine and stood her next to me. I felt her starting to fade. I picked her up in my arms, sat down on the patio furniture, laid her on my lap with my arms cradled around her. I talked to her, we prayed together and when I finished, she took her last breath. Oh, it was so sad!

I thank God for this beautiful gift He gave me. The love she shared with others in need will never be forgotten. She loved her work and those she served.