A dog lover, Dejan didn’t hesitate to help when a client – and Yoda – needed a hand.
Dejan is a Team Leader that coordinates care for seniors in their own home. Although his clients live independently in the community, they require support with their mental health and substance use challenges and help maintaining their homes, performing everyday activities, and navigating the health and social services system.
With LOFT for over 9 years, Dejan is a resource to both his colleagues and clients. First hired as a Case Manager, he soon transferred into a leadership position. “I do a lot of staff support,” he explains. “I also perform administrative tasks and have a caseload of clients.”
When the pandemic hit, Dejan was redeployed to LOFT’s Bradford House program. Bradford House is a supportive home for older adults and seniors with complex mental and physical health challenges. Already familiar with the facility, Dejan soon got to know Dan and his service dog Yoda.
Pets have an astounding effect on humans. Their presence can reduce a person’s stress level, lower blood pressure, and provide companionship. In Dan’s case, Yoda helped him to control his anxiety.
When Dan needed to be hospitalized due to health complications, he was unable to find care for Yoda. Other Bradford House clients tried to help, but looking after the service animal quickly became too challenging for them.
Dejan, a dog lover, stepped in. He kindly volunteered to take care of Dan’s beloved Yoda, inviting the chihuahua into his home. Apprehensive at first, Yoda soon took over the bed and learned to get along with Dejan’s own dog.
“I wanted to make sure Yoda wasn’t alone,” explains Dejan. “I also recognized how important it was for Dan’s recovery that he knew his dog was doing well.”
Thanks to Dejan’s kindness, Dan and Yoda have been safely reunited at Bradford House.
Dejan remembers taking Yoda back to Dan when he was discharged from hospital. “They reconnected right away,” Dejan says. “They were inseparable. It was as if life came back into Dan when he saw his dog.”