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Wednesday, Sep 20, 2017
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Guide dog still wagging in 'retirement'

Bonnie was a guide dog that developed a fear of traffic noise, according to Cyndi Crowder Dunn, the director of operations at Cypress Creek Assisted Living Residence. Since she was "let go" from her job as a guide dog working for the Southeastern Guide Dogs organization, Bonnie has become a best friend at the Cypress Creek assisted living facility. "We were so fortunate to get her," Dunn said. "She is the best therapy ever. She runs the place. She loves cookies and snacks and can go in and out of the rooms to visit." Eugene Fraser, 82, spent time petting Bonnie in the lobby. Originally from Boston, Fraser moved to Cypress Creek two years ago.
"Everyone loves Bonnie," he said. Kat Kerr, 19, of Ruskin, said she has noticed how residents respond to Bonnie when she is working as an activities assistant for the summer. Kerr, a junior at the University of Florida in Gainesville, plans to major in criminal profiling. She said the job gives her a chance to have fun all day while also helping people. "Bonnie is adorable," Kerr said. "They love her. Everyone pets her. She is the cutest thing here." Dunn said having a pet at the facility adds to the home-like setting. Senior citizens in assisted living facilities need to continue the normal daily living activities and hobbies such as watering plants and playing the piano, she said. "You don't just park people in a chair and have them watch TV all day," she said. "Every day there are activities and we have special events all the time." Dunn said Bonnie has a calming influence on residents, especially new people moving in. She has been living at the facility for five years now. "With people transitioning to assisted living, it can be upsetting and she gives a nice sense of calm and normalcy like being in your own home."

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