Each of the nominees demonstrated a deep love for pets and an enduring desire to help patients maintain the bond they shared with their furry family members.
The committee recognized that Ed brings those traits plus an exceptional ability to bond with patients and their families. This special skill helped Ed provide comfort to a young child who was losing her father and to provide peace of mind for her dying dad.
Ed’s story was submitted by Volunteer Coordinator, Nancy McCrainie.
“Ed Yarbrough is one of Hospice Austin’s most faithful PPOM volunteers. Ed has worked with many dogs during his volunteer service. One was Chaya. Her owner was a fairly young father with an adorable 3 year old daughter. The patient was frustrated and sad that he could no longer take Chaya on walks like he used to. So Ed took Chaya on long walks every Saturday for several months.
Ed’s very first assignment was a 10 year old German Shepard mix name Cyrus. Cyrus and Ed would take long walks in the neighborhood and sometimes on outings to the off leash dog park. Ed has 2 elderly dogs who don’t enjoy going to dog parks, so he especially loves being able to take his PPOM clients there instead.
Cyrus’ dad loved him so much and was very grateful for Ed’s help. When he died, Cyrus was the first family member listed in his obituary.
Ed’s most challenging assignment was a Chihuahua named Bruiser. Bruiser was very protective of his owner and also HATED to go outside. Fortunately he was very treat motivated so Ed could lure him off of the patient’s bed with his favorite treat. To avoid getting snapped at when trying to leash him up, Ed would have to offer a treat in one hand and connect the leash with the other while Bruiser was eating the treat.
Occasionally his timing was off but Ed said it wasn’t a big deal because Bruiser was 10 and didn’t have very many teeth left. Nevertheless, Bruiser still refused to go outside so Ed would have to carry him to the far end of the dog walk area of the apartment complex and force him to walk back, hoping he’d do his business along the way!
He was honored locally during Hospice Austin’s April 26 volunteer appreciation luncheon. McCrainie reported,“Ed was so surprised and thrilled. We presented him with a goodie bag filled with dog treats. Everyone was so happy for him! And after the luncheon several volunteers told us they wanted to do more with Hospice Austin’s Pet Peace of Mind program.”