It was with very heavy hearts that we said goodbye to our longtime beloved Pet Therapist Carol Verly Carlson last week after her recent passing.
Carol had been a member of the Prairie Home Hospice & Community Care team since July of 1997, almost exactly 24 years. Carol and her beloved pups played a special role in providing comfort, joy and peace to both our clients, and their families, during what can be a very difficult time in life’s journey. Carol made a mark on so many people, and her and her family will be so missed as a staple piece of Prairie Home Hospice & Community Care.
Throughout her 24 years with Prairie Home Hospice & Community Care, Carol worked alongside three of her Certified Pet Therapy Dogs – Minde, Nicki and Katie. Therapy Dogs are very special and play a role unlike any other service that clients are provided with. Therapy Dogs are known to provide a welcome distraction for illness, symptoms, and worry. They serve as a non-judgmental listener and quiet friend. Spending time with these pups is known to release “feel good” hormones in humans while encouraging conversation between patients and their families. Therapy dogs also produce many physical health benefits such as reduced physical pain, lowered blood pressure, improved heart rate, and increased overall comfort level. Carol, Minde, Nicki, and Katie definitely did just that for countless clients over the last 24 years.
Carol and her pups had a particularly special gift and made a lasting impact on so many people throughout their hospice care journeys. Carol was described in the following ways:
“She was a wonderful volunteer that brought a lot of smiles with those puppies”
“She was sweet, as were her pups, when she brought her pups to see my Mom”
“She did so much for others”
“I adored her and loved the times volunteered when she’d visit with the “girls”. Feel blessed to have crossed her path”
“She was a very caring lady. I remember coming to my Mom’s house when she was on Hospice (13 years ago)”
“Such a wonderful woman!”
“She was a wonderful lady and will be missed by many”
“She was a very loving and caring lady. She will be missed by so many people. “
“A lovely lady. She did an incredible job.”
“She will be missed – such a kind lady who made my mom’s days brighter with her visit”
“She was so awesome with my Mom. Her dogs brought joy….just like Carol”
“It’s hard to put into words what a giving person she was. Such a servants heart”
“Beautiful person inside and out”
“She was a great lady”
“She was truly an angel on earth”
“Some people are put here to make the world better, and Carol was one of those people”
It is so incredibly apparent the amazing impact that Carol and her pups made over the last 20+ years. We will never be able to “replace” Carol, but we are excited that we have another pup on board that will continue providing this amazing service to our clients – a legacy that she started, and that will not soon be forgotten.
Another area that Carol was “famous” for and will never be the same, was her involvement in parades. Carol hardly ever missed one of our Tough Enough To Wear Pink Parades, and we loved having her and her husband John there, riding around in their fancy car! This year we will carry around Carol’s memory on a beautiful banner in her honor, but our parades will truly never feel the same.
We would like to extend our gratitude as an organization for the support we have received during this difficult time of loss. We are thankful for all of the thoughts, prayers and well wishes for her family and friends as everyone grieves the loss of Carol. She was a remarkable woman and we are grateful to have had her as a member of our team for so many years.