Featured Residents of the Month – Pat Kirkham and the Mayor of Collington, Buddy
Losing a loved one is never easy, but pets provide comfort in a time of need. A pet provides companionship and someone to talk to which is exactly what a dog named Buddy did for resident, Pat Kirkham when she needed him most. Collington, a pet friendly life plan community, became the perfect home for Pat and Buddy. Here is their journey to Collington.
After attending Mount Mercy College, now known as Carlow University in Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania, Pat began her career in the community nursing field. She and her late husband worked in South Dakota and New Mexico helping to provide care for Native Americans. She also taught nursing at Wagner College and assisted close friends and families with illnesses over the years. After over 35 years as a nurse, Pat decided to retire.
Upon losing her husband after many years together, a childhood friend suggested Pat get a Labrador Retriever from a breeder in Michigan. Defiant at first, she later gave in and was delivered a 3-month-old yellow lab she later named Buddy. Not only did Buddy comfort her while she mourned the loss of her husband, but he also helped her recover from her hip surgery. She lightheartedly said, “[Buddy] was the medicine I needed. He makes me laugh every day when we are together.” Pat knew she had to get back onto her feet after her surgery in order to take care of Buddy, her new best friend and responsibility. Establishing new memories together with Buddy gave her a reason to be happy again.
It was decided that it was time to downsize. After receiving a convincing “The Dog Days of August” marketing piece in the mail, Pat decided to attend an event at Collington and moved in just a little over a year later. She didn’t want to take care of her beloved 4-bedroom home anymore and was thrilled to hear that dogs were allowed on the campus. She was comforted by the fact that she didn’t feel any pressure from her residency counselor, Sandy, to make the decision and knew right away that Collington was the place for her.
Pat is now the Chair of the Pet Committee of Collington, a committee that meets once a month to discuss how to make the grounds safe for residents and their pets. The Committee evaluates the pets of new residents to validate that they do not impede on the health and safety of other residents. New pets must be well-trained and the owners must be responsible. A veterinarian even comes to Collington every other month to care for pets whose owners cannot leave the campus. Collington is a wonderful place for both people and animals. Buddy is popular among many residents, due to his loving and friendly demeanor. Pat even refers to him as “The Mayor of Collington.” Make sure to say hello to Pat and her buddy, Buddy, next time you see them on campus!