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Pay It Forward

She uses her close relationship with four-legged friends to bring comfort to those of us who stand on two. January's Pay It Forward winner was nominated for the selfless way she has chosen to live out her retirement. 

On the job as a volunteer she goes from room-to-room with dogs in tow at local schools, nursing homes and hospitals. When we visit, they're at St. John's Childrens Hospital. It's hard to believe after seeing her in action, but Rose Hutches says she grew up afraid of dogs. Now, she teaches them to comfort others, like MacArthur High School senior Trinity Sherrill.

"I was bored. I had cabin fever so I was around here running around dancing. So having dogs here is amusing," Sherrill, a patient at the hospital, said.

Her stay in the hospital is a quick one, but for others, like Luis Antuna, who make frequent trips to the hospital, regular visits with the therapy dogs help bring calm to an otherwise stressful time. Hutches does this several times a week, and when she comes home the real fun begins with a chorus of seven dogs: Shadow, Cocoa, Auty, Harold, Fibber McGee, Hopee, and Logan.

"I just love being around dogs, and I especially love being around dogs that are getting a second chance," Hutches said.

In addition to training comfort dogs, Hutches rescues dogs, too. Only three in her brood of seven work as comfort dogs.

"The others that just sit around, they're just nice to be companions. Hope, the shy one, she loves to take walks, so she gets me out and she makes me walk," Hutches said.

She has given them a lifeline-- an escape from certain death at a shelter or on the street. In exchange we, thanks to County Market, are giving her one big check for $500. If you're interested in finding out more about Illinois Humane (where Rose Hutches adopted a number of her pets), click here for that information. If you want to nominate someone for the Pay It Forward award, click here to tell us about them.

Pay It Forward: Rose Hutches

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