Heart of Detroit: Alpine brings unconditional love

Published On: Sep 13 2012 06:01:56 PM EDT
DETROIT -

She is man’s best friend – and a friend in times of need. Alpine, a golden retriever with Arbor Hospice, visits the terminally ill. Her impact is immeasurable.

Louis, "She is about as human as people we have met in our lives"

Studies show trained animals can be therapeutic in patient care. Alpine helps reduce loneliness and depression, and can bring a twinkle of happiness in otherwise difficult days.

"Has there yet been a case where Alpine has been there in the end?"

"This patient was elderly in her 90s and her adult daughter called us a couple days later and said my mom is asking for Alpine can you bring her out. Once Alpine got there she said my baby is here."

Alpine is infinitely patient, and never tires of physical contact. A former Leader Dog for the blind, she seems to sense the need she is filling in the hospice world.

Mitch: If she could talk what do you think she would say?

Gloria: I think she would thank families and patients for allowing her to come in and have that time with them.  I think it is that unconditional love that pets bring to us.

Easing the final journey, Alpine and Arbor Hospice are comforting the heart of Detroit.