Once a week, the residents and staff of the Shepherd of the Valley nursing home and assisted living get a special visitor who never has a word to say, but gives lots of attention and love.
Gizmo, a six-year-old peek-a-pom, a Pomeranian and Pekingese mix, spends time sitting on the laps of residents and has even been cuddled in bed with a few.
Gizmo's owner, Debi Stickle, a nurse from Canfield, said the therapy dog started visiting the the nursing facility a few hours a day when he was only a year old. Once everyone became familiar with the dog, Stickle started bringing him during her work shift a few days a week.
''When I am at work without Gizmo, the staff and residents would get disappointed and ask where my little baby or buddy was, so I started bringing him as much as I could,'' Stickle said.
Four years ago, when she started to work in assisted living, Gizmo became part of the assisted living family, often walking around with the nurses, waking up residents or entertaining them with tricks. Some of Gizmo's tricks include sitting up, playing dead and his most famous trick, saying ''Ma Ma.''
''He loves belly rubs and and rolls over every chance he gets,'' Stickle said.
At 9.6 pounds and 11 inches tall, Gizmo gets quite a workout between the facilities three floors, playing and entertaining everyone, she said. Because he tends to get tired, Gizmo's visits are now limited to once a week.
Emmet Bognar, a resident, said he looks forward to the dog's visit and having the dog sit on his lap and according to nurse Kim Joynes many residents come out of their rooms to see him.
Stickle said when a new resident gets admitted to assisted living Gizmo is introduced to them and has his picture taken on their lap.
''We put the pictures on their room door and hand out extras to their families,'' she said.
Stickle said Gizmo brings back memories for residents of their own pets. Even residents who say they don't like dogs, have taken a liking to Gizmo.
''This amazing little dog is where he suppose to be. He makes so many residents smile ... and for a few moments takes their mind off of any of their problems,'' Stickle said.
Many family members have even offered to purchase Gizmo, but Stickle said he is not for sale.
''To me, he's priceless,'' she said.