The Life of a HosPet Volunteer at Partners In Care


(HosPet Lynne Slauson and Willa | Photo by T Park, courtesy of Partners In Care)

Woof! I am Willa Slauson, an 80-pound Bernedoodle who adores my work as a Partners In Care HosPet Volunteer. Tuesdays are my favorite day of the week. The day starts with a shower, shampoo, conditioner, and blow dry. My mom tells me that I have to be clean and soft for the day ahead. I am a pretty mellow girl, but when mom declares “It is time to go to work” I jump up, prance to the garage, and leap with exuberance into the back of the car. I especially love this moment because my little brother, Petie, gets left behind, and I am princess for another day.

We make our way to Touchmark at Mt. Bachelor Village for a day of fun. As mom signs us in, the joy begins. Residents and Staff begin to spot me and announce “WILLA IS HERE!” While that is really fun, the next part is even more exciting. “Can she have a treat?” they ask my mom and immediately treats appear from walkers, pockets, drawers, and shelves. Everyone seems to have a stash for me. I reward them with all the love I can muster. Unfortunately, this winter I had to cut down on some of the treats because my vet said she was having difficulty palpating my waist. What is a girl to do?

Our first stop is Memory Care. When we enter there are lots of residents gathered for “song circle.” We interrupt the music and fun instruments to greet everyone gathered. Mom and I tell them about all my adventures that week including the squirrel hunts, coyote lookout duty, ridding the property of visiting deer and doing a ranch perimeter patrol with Petie. We bring in videos of all the fun sledding with the grandsons, chasing the quad around and the Raven family we tried to adopt last spring. My favorite part though is just resting my chin on the residents’ laps, nudging their elbows to encourage more petting, or just settling at their feet and leaning into their legs as they share about their families, favorite pets, and lives.

There are lots of other special places that we get to go. I love visiting with the patients and staff at the Partners in Care Hospice House — it is very peaceful there and they are always so happy to see me. My other favorite thing is playing with the kids at Camp Courage. The kids love to walk with me, talk with me and generally just love up on me. They decorate my Therapy Dog vest and find ways to sneak me treats when mom isn’t looking.

As you can tell, my life as a HosPet Volunteer is really amazing. If you see me with my decorated purple Therapy Dog vest, my chubby waistline, and a big grin on my face, please stop to say hello!

Love, Willa

HosPets and their human volunteers provide companionship, comfort, and support for Partners In Care hospice patients across Central Oregon. Partners In Care is always looking for more volunteers to support our growing community. If you have a dog and are interested in becoming a HosPet volunteer or volunteer in general, learn more at or contact us at 541-382-5882.


About Author

Leave A Reply