VNA’s canine volunteers

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Visitors are always a bright spot when you are not feeling well. Even more special is a visit from a very large soft dog that patiently allows you to pet his soft thick fur and look into his understanding eyes.

Vikahn and Yulee were a father and son team of a breed called Leonbergers, very large dogs that have worked as hospice companion volunteers along with their owner Vic Neumann at the Farmington Valley Visiting Nurse Association. Sadly, the dad, Vikahn, recently passed away from age-related disease. He was an amazing dog who provided so much love to many. Vikahn even provided comfort to the families in Newtown following their school tragedy.

Yulee is now visiting solo, following well in his dad’s footsteps and providing companionship to the homebound, hospice patients, Connecticut Children’s Medical Center, nursing facilities and schools. He brings fond memories of patients’ own pets and the enjoyment of his company is obvious on the faces of those he visits. He often calms those who are upset and brings company to the lonely.

Yulee is so tall that patients can pet him right at their bedside and his gentle nature encourages interaction with all people. All dogs that visit hospice patients need to be certified pet therapy dogs and Yulee is certified through Therapy Dogs International.

To contact the Farmington Valley VNA regarding any of its services or the Granby Food Bank, please call 860-651-3539 or visit the website at