Coleta Weathersbee and her dogs Annie and Cory are sharing smiles and joy wherever they go through Heart of Texas Therapy Dogs. Because of this selfless devotion, Edgemere senior living community is recognizing Weathersbee as a recipient of the 2012 Edgemere Salute to Seniors Award. Barbara Wilson, co-founder of Heart of Texas Therapy Dogs, and the organization’s board of directors, nominated Weathersbee for the honor.
“Coleta is an amazing volunteer,” said Wilson. “She’s worked with Heart of Texas Therapy Dogs for ten years and she continues to go above and beyond to serve those she visits. She is passionate about using her dogs to spread joy to those she visits, and she really believes in the program and the therapy these dogs provide.”
The Edgemere Salute to Seniors Award is presented quarterly to honor an individual who is making a difference in their community. Qualified nominees are active adults age 62 and above who volunteer their time and talents to their communities, and who also exemplify leadership, spirit, and citizenship.
“Animal therapy is such an effective tool,” said Vanessa Curtright, director of sales and marketing at Edgemere. “Weathersbee taking her dogs Annie and Cory to visit people, especially seniors, is such a wonderful way to spread joy. Animals provide a sense of comfort and Weathersbee provides this each time she and her dogs make visits.”
About ten years ago, Weathersbee adopted a golden retriever from a rescue organization that she was volunteering for. She took the dog to an obedience class and the instructor mentioned that it would make a great therapy dog. It was the first time she considered the idea. Weathersbee, who has always loved dogs and older people, decided to use the dogs to work with seniors.
She began doing dog therapy through a local organization, and at a volunteer dinner, she met Sheryll Barker from the national board of Therapy Dogs Inc. who told her about Heart of Texas Therapy Dogs. She was excited to learn that they worked with facilities near where she lived. She became the contact person for Arden Courts Assisted Living, and she and her dogs have been visiting there every Saturday ever since.
“When you volunteer with your dog there are immediate smiles and laughter and people wave at you from across the room,” said Weathersbee. “It’s such an uplifting experience. Our motto is sharing smiles and joy.”
Weathersbee, 67, retired after 35 years working at Presbyterian Hospital of Dallas as a medical transcriptionist. When she’s not volunteering with Heart of Texas Therapy Dogs, she enjoys playing the piano and reading, going on mission trips with her church, First Baptist Richardson, and spending time with her seven grandsons ranging in age from 3 to 19.
Heart of Texas Therapy Dogs is a non-profit, all volunteer group whose members are registered with the national organization Therapy Dogs Inc. The dog/handler teams serve in a variety of settings in the Dallas/Fort Worth metroplex area, including elder care facilities, medical facilities, schools, libraries, shelters for teens or victims of domestic abuse, and education/public awareness events. For more information, visit www.hotthdogs.org.
With 304 independent living apartment homes, 60 assisted living suites, 31 memory care private apartments, and 72 private rooms for dignified skilled nursing, Edgemere is the largest and most comprehensive life care retirement community in Dallas. The community is located in the Preston Hollow/Park Cities area at 8523 Thackery St. at Northwest Highway, Dallas, Texas 75225. The Plaza Health Services at Edgemere located on the same campus at 8502 Edgemere Road at Northwest Highway, offers assisted living, skilled nursing, and memory support services for Edgemere life care residents, as well as for others in the community.
Edgemere, the only Masterpiece Living® community in Dallas, is a 501(c)3 not-for-profit retirement community owned by Senior Quality Lifestyles Corporation (SQLC), a Texas-based nonprofit organization that owns sister communities The Buckingham in Houston, Querencia at Barton Creek in Austin, The Stayton at Museum Way in Fort Worth, Mirador in Corpus Christi and The Barrington at Carmel in Indianapolis. For information, call (469) 619-0825 or visit www.edgemeredallas.com.