2017-11-01 / Community

Father and daughter comfort and entertain

D.K. Christi

Bing and his daughter, Cammy. Bing and his daughter, Cammy. Margot and Bill Hill’s white Jack Russell terriers, Bing and his daughter, Cammy – short for Camellia – had their own “go pack” and were well-prepared to weather hurricane Irma, which occurred right after they rode back to Pelican Bay following a northern visit.

Retired from a combined 60 years as members and leaders in Boston’s police force, the Hills were not deterred by the hurricane. On the drive home, they simply stopped for boots in case of flooding from the lake behind their house.

If they had been forced to evacuate, their pets were ready. Margot Hill recommends her preparations for all dog owners: medical records, licenses and tags, identity chips, leads and harnesses, one crate with blankets and comfort toys, lambs’ wool, bowls and food, life jackets and water.

“Preparing for the hurricane, I put clothes from an interior closet into plastic bins so we’d have a safe room,” said Hill. After the eye wall passed the first time, they went out to walk the dogs and then hurried back for the second half. When it was over, the lake hadn’t flooded after all. “God watches out for dogs,” said Hill.

The next day, Bing and Cammy returned to work as therapy dogs. “Hope Hospice had received transfer patients from other facilities, and the need for a calming and reassuring influence was great,” said Hill.

The nurses’ station is the first stop for the dogs, who receive their assignments. “The nurses know who wants a visit,” said Hill. Cammy, just 15 months old and about 10 pounds, slips into bed under a welcome hand and remains for the gentle petting of her long-haired, rough coat.

Not to be outdone, Bing, 9 years old and about 15 pounds, also does a trick or two: He prays, speaks on command and rolls over. But singing is his specialty. “After all, with a name like that, he has to be a crooner,” said Hill. She has been taking him to Hope Hospice and Brookdale in Bonita Springs and Life Care Center of Estero for five years, often two days a week. She bathes them well so they smell good for their visits. Hope Hospice also sends them on home visits.

“Bing and Cammy provide a needed break for the homebound person and their caretaker,” said Hill. “While the patient is enjoying the canine attention, I often visit with the caretaker. Everyone has a dog story, and patients often have their own to tell.”

Hill said Bing and Cammy love their work as evidenced by the head snap and tail wagging that goes on when her husband says, “Are you going visiting?” and they run to the door.

Our Best Friends

If you have a dog that you think is particularly wonderful, contact us at info@swspotlight.com and he or she could be the next dog featured in this column.

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