Senior Village at SaddleBrooke

Therapy dog Gracie and handler Bob Bulakowski visit with Senior Village member Lois Greim. Therapy dogs bring joy to almost everyone they meet.

Meet One of The Senior Village’s Most Well-Educated Volunteers

Barbara Barr

How old were you when you began your journey in formal education? One of Senior Village’s newest volunteers, Gracie Bulakowski, began her adventures in learning at the tender age of eight weeks old. After successfully completing her first class in leash training, this four-legged ball of fluff went on to advance her education in puppy training. This was followed by higher-level skills Gracie acquired in the intermediate and advanced classes. Then this brown-eyed girl was ready for some serious rigor, and she moved on to the canine good citizen level of education. For her grand finale, this high achiever went on to become a certified therapy dog by the Humane Society of Southern Arizona. This new Senior Village volunteer accomplished this in just a few short years and has gone on to touch the lives of so many.

Gracie’s resume includes stellar accomplishments at Catalina Springs Memory Care, Ironwood High School, the University of Arizona School of Veterinary Medicine, and SaddleBrooke TWO’s staff. That’s quite a bio for a four-year-old! Don’t you know that Gracie’s pet parents, Bob and Sandy Bulakowski, must be so proud of this girl!

Now Gracie, along with Bob Bulakowski, is joining the volunteers at Senior Village at SaddleBrooke. She will be working with Bob on the Friendly Contact team. Excited about her new role with Senior Village, Gracie has already accepted assignments to visit with our members. She’s even attending three birthday celebrations, where she will probably be the star. Bob Bulakowski feels that, “Having Gracie has taught me more about myself than all of my 73 years of life.”

While Gracie is finding pure joy in her role as a therapy dog, there’s pure science behind pet therapy. Physical interaction with a gentle, friendly pet lowers blood pressure, improves cardiovascular health, diminishes overall physical pain, and provides a relaxation response. The numerous benefits for mental health include lifting spirits and reducing depression, decreasing feelings of isolation, encouraging communication, lessening boredom, lowering anxiety, and diminishing feelings of loneliness. These are just a few of the benefits our canine volunteers will provide through the Friendly Contact team.

To request visits from Gracie and other four-legged volunteers, members just need to call 520-315-1042 and leave a message for the Friendly Contact team.

Karen Kelly, member of Senior Village, supports the mission of the Village as a way to give back to her community.

Auto Pay Simplifies Giving

Stephanie Thomas

Gone are the days of writing a check for every bill that crosses your desk. Our lives are now so technologically centered that money can flow automatically in and out of our bank accounts.

Karen Kelly, a Senior Village member and donor, explained that she uses the auto pay method not only for bills but also for her charitable contributions. “I set the withdrawal date with the bank and choose an amount I can give on a monthly basis. Then you don’t have to worry about it. I know the money is there, and I don’t miss it on a monthly basis. It’s an easy way to give. I think more people should do it.”

As a Long Realty agent, Karen also shows her support for the Village by including informative brochures about the Village in her new homeowner packets. Since joining Senior Village in 2017, Karen has turned to Senior Village for transportation when she had medical procedures on her back and at other times when she needed solutions to electronic problems. Referring to the Village volunteers, she says, “They come to your house; they know what to do. In three minutes, they took care of my stress.”

Senior Village makes Karen’s life easier, giving her time both for her real estate profession and to indulge in her pottery hobby, mahjongg games, and relaxation with her two feline companions. At this point in her life, Karen makes giving a priority. She says, “I feel blessed that I can give. I feel good I can now give back to my community.”

Asked why she joined the Village, Karen replied, “I didn’t know if I would need help down the road. As a single person, I feel safe having Senior Village. You never know when something might happen. With Senior Village, you don’t need to feel pressure in asking friends to help. The volunteers are there to give. You allow them the opportunity to help you.”

For Karen, being a member of Senior Village is a win-win, and contributing monthly through her bank’s automatic withdrawal program takes the hassle out of writing checks. The bank prepares and sends her check to Senior Village at P.O. Box 8584, Tucson, AZ 85738.

If you are interested in this method of donating, call or visit your bank, or go to their online site to enroll in auto pay. As Karen says, “It’s an easy way to give.”