Special Volunteers

Companion Dogs

Visitors are always a bright spot when you are not feeling well. Even more special is a visit from a very large soft dog who patiently allows you to pet his soft thick fur and look into his understanding eyes.

Vikahn and Yulee were a father and son team of a breed called Leonbergers, very very large dogs, who have worked as hospice companion volunteers along with their owner Vic Neumann at the Farmington Valley Visiting Nurse Association. Sadly, the dad Vikahn recently passed away from age related disease. He was an amazing dog who provided so much love to many. Vikahn even provided comfort to the families in Newtown following their school tragedy.

Yulee is now visiting solo, following well in his dad’s footsteps and providing companionship to the homebound, hospice patients, Connecticut Children’s Medical Center, nursing facilities and schools. He brings fond memories of patients’ own pets and the enjoyment of his company is obvious on the faces of those he visits. He often calms those who are upset and brings company to the lonely.

Leonbergers weigh up to 170 lbs. and can be over 30” tall. They are a lush-coated giant breed of German origin and have a gentle nature and serenity well suited to providing companionship in many situations. They truly enjoy the companionship and attention and will sit or stand patiently enjoying the moment. Yulee is so tall that patients can pet them right at their bedside and his gentle nature encourages interaction with all people. All dogs who visit hospice patients need to be certified pet therapy dogs and Yulee is certified through Therapy Dogs International.