The Weekly Newspaper serving the citizens of Morenci, Mich., Fayette, Ohio, and surrounding areas.

  • Front.sculpt
    SKEWERS, gumdrops, and marshmallows are all that’s needed to create interesting shapes and designs for Layla McDowell Saturday at Stair District Library’s “Sculptamania!” Open House. The program featuring design games and materials is one part of a larger project funded by a $7,500 Curiosity Creates grant from Disney and the American Library Association. Additional photos are on page 7.
    Morenci marching band members took to the field Friday night dressed for Halloween during the Bulldog’s first playoff game. Morenci fans had a bit of a scare until the fourth quarter when the Bulldogs scored 30 points to leave Lenawee Christian School behind. Whiteford visits Morenci this Friday for the district championship game. From the left is Clayton Borton, Morgan Merillat and James O’Brien.
    DNA PUZZLE—Mitchell Storrs and Wyatt Mohr tackle a puzzle representing the structure of DNA. There’s only one correct way for all the pieces to fit. It’s one of the new materials that can be used in both biology and chemistry classes, said teacher Loretta Cox.
  • Front.tar.wide
    A TRAFFIC control worker stands in the middle of Morenci’s Main Street Tuesday morning, waiting for the next flow of vehicles to be let through from the west. The dusty gravel surface was sealed with a layer of tar, leaving only the application of paint for new striping. The project was completed in conjunction with county road commission work west of Morenci.
  • Front.pull
    JUNIORS Jazmin Smith and Trevor Corkle struggle against a team from the sophomore class Friday during the annual tug of war at the Homecoming Games pep rally. Even the seniors struggled against the sophomores who won the competition. At the main course of the day, the Bulldog football team struggled against Whiteford in a homecoming loss.
    YOUNG soccer players surived a chilly morning Saturday in Morenci’s PTO league. From the left is Emma Cordts, Wayne Corser, Carter and Levi Seitz, Briella York and Drew Joughin. Two more weeks of soccer remain for this season.
  • Front.ropes
    BOWEN BAUMGARTNER of Morenci makes his way across a rope bridge constructed by the Tecumseh Boy Scout troop Sunday at Lake Hudson Recreation Area. The bridge was one of many challenges, displays and games set up for the annual Youth Jamboree by the Michigan DNR. Additional photos on are the back page of this week’s Observer.
  • Front.homecoming Court
    One of four senior candidates will be crowned the fall homecoming queen during half-time of this week’s Morenci-Whiteford football game. In the back row (left to right) is exchange student Kinga Vidor (her escort will be Caylob Alcock), seniors Alli VanBrandt (escorted by Sam Cool), Larissa Elliott (escorted by Clayton Borton), Samantha Wright (escorted by JJ Elarton) and Justis McCowan (escorted by Austin Gilson), and exchange student Rebecca Rosenberger (escorted by Garrett Smith). Front row freshman court member Allie Kaiser (escorted by Anthony Thomas), sophomore Marlee Blaker (escorted by Nate Elarton) and junior Cheyenne Stone (escorted by Dominick Sell).
  • Front.park.lights
    GETTING READY—Jerad Gleckler pounds nails to secure a string of holiday lights on the side of the Wakefield Park concession stand while other members of the Volunteer Club and others hold them in place. The volunteers showed up Sunday afternoon to string lights at the park. The decorating project will continue this Sunday. Denise Walsh is in charge of the effort this year.

Savannah is a hit at Serenity Haven 2009.10.07

Written by David Green.

A special guest at Serenity Haven has proven to be a popular visitor. In fact, says staff member Nick Garver, the response was a unamimous “paws up.”

Recovery Services of Northwest Ohio—the agency that oversees the women’s residential addiction treatment program at Serenity Haven west of Fayette—recently began utilizing a new therapeutic tool called animal-assisted therapy (AAL).

“Animal-assisted therapy is becoming a much more commonly and widely used component of treatment not only for addiction and mental health but for an array of illnesses,” Garver said.

AAT has been found to improve social, emotional, physical and cognitive abilities in patients in a variety of settings.

“There has been evidence that AAT can prompt a marked lowering of blood pressure, decrease depression, improve interaction between peers and with staff, improve self-esteem, aid in short- or long-term memory, decrease anxiety and lower risk for heart attack or stroke,” Garver said.

Garver has a good a connection to AAT services—his mother, Barb, is a certified handler.

Over the summer, Serenity Haven was visited by Barb and her buff-colored American cocker spaniel Savannah, a certified therapy dog.

All of the residents at Serenity Haven had an opportunity to visit with Savannah—to pet her, hold her if they desired, “talk” with her and generally interact with the four-footed guest.

“The ladies spent about an hour visiting, and the response was a unanimous ‘paws up!’” Garver said.

Garver, a community support specialist with Recovery Services, said  the benefits from the visit went beyond the general enjoyment of spending time with a pet.

“Some women reported noticing a definite change in their mood during and immediately following the visit,” he said. “The voiced responses of the women in attendance were significant, but the observed responses were far more profound.

“Individuals known to be more stern and less expressive were on the floor talking, interacting and laughing. Individuals who are known to be more withdrawn were more assertive and seemed to be drawn out in order to be a part of the event.”

In addition to spending time with Savannah, the women had an opportunity to speak with Barb about how she and Savannah became certified and to ask about other facilities they’ve visited.

The duo’s certification was obtained through Therapy Dogs International, a volunteer organization that educates, tests and registers dogs (and their human counterparts) to visit hospitals, long-term care facilities and other like environments.

Savannah was required to meet several criteria to earn her certification including passing the AKC Canine Good Citizen test and showing appropriate behavior around individuals with special needs and who utilize special equipment such as an IV pole or a wheelchair.

“I knew almost from the time we got her that Savannah could be a good therapy dog,” Barb said. “She has a gentle, sweet disposition and just loves everyone.”

She said Savannah completed all the requirements for certification very successfully and and the animal seems to take her responsibility seriously.

“It’s like she knows she has an important job to do when we get to a visit,” Barb said. “She is loving and sweet like always, but she gets very focused and appears to know that the people we’re seeing need to be treated with care.”

Barb and Savannah have visited a few other facilities in addition to Serenity Haven and the response has been very encouraging. The two are becoming a familiar site at several nursing homes and care facilities.

“We’re hoping to set up another visit this month at Serenity Haven,” Garver said.

Residents will have to patiently await their canine friend’s next appearance because Barb and Savannah travel on a volunteer basis, and Barb has a “regular” job, as well.

Word continues to spread about their availability and Savannah’s social calendar is filling up.

This is a pooch that really gets around.

Weekly newspaper serving SE Michigan and NW Ohio - State Line Observer ©2006-2015