Jill Krickbaum & Crosley
Crosley, a Golden Retriever, and her companion Jill Krickbaum, have been bringing joy and comfort to patients since 2009. They participate in the KCH&PC pet therapy service.
Jill, an urban elementary school counselor with a Master’s degree in Psychology and counseling, takes Crosley to school with her. At the close of school several years ago, Jill wanted to find an activity to do with Crosley over the summer. “It was my mom, Bobbie Dreyer, a social worker at KCH&PC, who suggested KCH&PC might be interested in a pet therapy volunteer, so I applied,” she said.
Crosley and Jill are now busy visiting and bringing cheer to KCH&PC patients throughout the year. During the summer, they also visit weekly at a couple of area long-term care facilities. Many of the patients, according to Jill, have had to give up their pet to move into the facility. Others reminisce about when they previously owned a dog.
According to Linda Mirocke, volunteer coordinator, Crosley is gentle, well-mannered and smart, and Jill is an outstanding volunteer. Patients enjoy having them visit.
“I'll never forget the first KCH&PC patient we visited. Crosley tried to get in bed with him. I was so embarrassed,” Jill said. “Crosley has such a loving disposition that she just tries to snuggle with patients. She knows when someone needs comfort and really tries to make them feel better. She loves working with people of all ages.”
Jill and Crosley have been pet therapy volunteers over three years and have served over 55 patients. They have many remarkable memories. One patient was scheduled for a one-time visit from Crosley. The patient started smiling the minute Crosley walked into the room. “He fell in love with Crosley. The feeling was mutual, so we visited for months and stayed longer each visit,” Jill shared.
She says people thank them for visiting. “I feel pretty selfish because it feels good to make people happy,” Jill says. “It’s so rewarding to see their eyes light up when they see Crosley.”
In addition to being a four-legged professional bringing comfort and sharing joy with others, Crosley is a big baseball fan. Crosley and Jill participate in the annual “Bark at the K” Royals game at Kauffman Stadium. They also travel to St. Louis to join others in the “Pooches in the Park” Cardinals game at Busch Stadium.
Having been with Crosley four-and-a-half years, Jill says, “We’re inseparable.”
Article contributed by Alice Ann Bennett, Volunteer