At Door County Medical Center (DCMC), we often see people who are undergoing major life transitions. Sometimes these transitions are filled with joy, such as the arrival of a new baby in our community. Other times, we see the grief of losing a loved one or the difficulty of a life-changing diagnosis. These experiences are as unique as the people who walk through our doors. But at every step, DCMC staff and providers are here to make these life changes as seamless as possible.
Sometimes, these transitions affect not just the patient, but also the employees who care for them.
It Takes a Village
Around Christmas, a patient came into the Emergency Department and was discharged to a nursing home. The patient was terribly distraught over the fate of their 9-year-old beagle, Pepper. Lizzy Anschutz, RN was working that day and decided she would help this patient find a loving home for Pepper.
Lizzy contacted DCMC Clinical Exercise Physiologist, Sarah Traeger, who runs Betty White Senior Sanctuary with Lucky 7 Dog Rescue in Green Bay.
“I wanted to do everything I could to get things squared away with the dog rescue so that we could take him in,” says Traeger. “The deal was we had to find a foster home in less than 24 hours. When I picked up Pepper, you could tell that he was nervous about all the changes. I knew once he was in my car that I would keep him until he got adopted.”
Pepper adjusted to living with Sarah quickly but finding him a permanent home was still a priority. That’s when DCMC Communication and Marketing Coordinator, Erin Shortall, decided to share Pepper’s story in the hospital’s employee newsletter, ‘The Daily’.
“Stories like this are why I love working here,” said Shortall, who is a dog owner herself.
It didn’t take long for Kathleen Engeldinger-Kerwin, an RN at DCMC Skilled Nursing Facility (SNF), to take notice.
“When I saw his face in The Daily, I knew I had to meet him because he looked just like a picture that I have of our beagle, Olivia, in my office,” said Engeldinger-Kerwin. “One of the things that caught my attention was that Pepper is nine years old. Olivia is also nine, born on 6-17-10. When Sarah told us that Pepper was born on 6-19-10, we knew it was meant to be.”
More than a month has passed and Pepper is settled in with his adopted family. “From working at the SNF, I know how hard the sacrifices are when people have to move out of their homes and into skilled care,” said Engeldinger-Kerwin.”I knew that we could provide Pepper with lots of love.”
Unfortunately, Pepper’s former owner recently passed away, but not without knowing that their beloved beagle had found a loving home.