Leaving His Pawprint in the Hearts of Residents

March 21, 2023 | News | Reading Time 4:00 Minutes

Millcroft Living Senior Living Community Welcomes A Canine Companion

Millcroft Living has a ‘family’ dog. Residents of the senior living community in Newark, Delaware, have joint custody of a six-month-old combination Australian sheepdog and poodle. Fittingly dubbed Buddy Millcroft, the ‘family’ dog lives and is cared for by resident Karen Wells but shares his sweet personality and wet kisses with the entire community.

Karen moved to Millcroft Living last July. She loved her new home but found it to be lacking…in puppy love. “I decided I’d buy a dog for the community,” she said. When word got out about her plans, “people were excited, and I was thrilled.” Karen started searching for the right pet, which needed to be 30 pounds or less. She looked at pet stores when she couldn’t find a rescue dog that would work out. “I know it’s best to rescue, but I needed to find one that was the right size and personality,” she said. “I looked at a shop that had nine dogs. The one that seemed to be the oldest had the saddest eyes I’d ever seen. I knew he was the one. I knew he’d fit right in.”

The Tail Tale

Buddy Millcroft, she learned, had been at the shop for five months. “People would buy him and take him home. Their veterinarians would find that he had a congenital heart defect, and they would return him. He had been bought and returned four times. So in a way, it was like buying a rescue dog,” she said. At first, the residents had planned to name him simply, ‘Millcroft’ but decided that sounded too ‘highfalutin.’ They added on the ‘Buddy’ prefix to make the moniker more down-to-earth.

According to Karen, Buddy Millcroft has been very happy to be living among people at Millcroft Living and is well-behaved. “His disposition is so good, and he rarely barks. He does have a little bit of separation anxiety because he’s used to people rejecting him. The residents accept that he barks just a little when I go to have meals. My upstairs neighbor started eating the same time I do, and so he doesn’t bother anyone,” she said.

No One Can Resist the Little Ambassador

Karen and Buddy position themselves outside of the dining room between seatings in order to give people the opportunity to stop and interact with him. At first, Karen said, “I was focusing on the residents. But then I began to observe that the employees enjoyed petting and talking with Buddy too.” When prospective residents come to see the community, Karen said, “He helps recruit them. His presence is like being our little ambassador.”

Karen brings Buddy to visit Millcroft’s skilled nursing residents. “I make sure they’re okay with it first,” she stressed. “We visited one woman recently. Her daughter said it was the first time she’d seen her mother smile in ages.”

Karen said, “He is a happy little dog, and people are drawn to him. Even people who have said they weren’t dog people will come and pet or nuzzle him. He makes people feel comfortable, and they enjoy his antics and behaviors. He’s a diversion.”

“Like many new residents, Buddy wasn’t completely sure how his life would change living at Millcroft Living,” said Peter Crane, interim executive director.  “Buddy quickly made new friends and became very comfortable in his new home.  He has a way of making Millcroft residents, visitors, and staff, laugh and smile.  Since Buddy moved-in, we’ve enjoyed hearing resident stories about pets from their past.  We love having Buddy at Millcroft!”  

Millcroft Living

Nestled in a vibrant neighborhood in Newark, Delaware, Millcroft Living is a full-service, rental, continuing care retirement community offering independent living, assisted living, skilled nursing, and rehabilitation. Millcroft is managed by Life Care Services®. For additional information, visit MillcroftLiving.com or call 302/204-1088.