Thomas Sosack and his dog Buddy love making people smile.
"Brings joy to their faces and brings joy to my face when I see their smiles. There's people who just don't have anybody else," said Thomas Sosack.
Thomas and Buddy visit three senior citizen facilities in Charles City.
"Buddy makes these residents smile. Even in our Alzheimer's unit. They just love animals," said 11th Street Chautauqua Activity Director Sheila Riden.
The pair started visiting the residents about two years ago.
"I was asked to go visit a certain person in a senior home, and on the way out I couldn't pass up all the rest of the residents who wanted to see him and it just grew from there," said Sosack.
Besides Charles City, Thomas and Buddy also go to Marshalltown to the Iowa Veterans Home. Helping veterans is a motto for the Elks Lodge, which Thomas Sosack is a member.
"As long as there are veterans we will never forget them, and I live up to that as much as I can," said Sosack.
Buddy is an honorary member of the Elks Lodge. He even earned the "Make a Difference" award at the Elks' State Convention for his service to visiting veterans and seniors.
"He's made a difference in our lives," said Sheila Riden.
But Thomas and Buddy aren't your average owner and pet. They moved to Iowa from California, where Tommy found Buddy wandering in the desert.
"I just lost my other dog. Buddy was roaming in the hot desert and I pulled over and opened the door. I was sad, and he jumped into my arms and I said you want to go home with me," said Thomas Sosack.
Shortly after finding Buddy, Thomas suffered a seizure. While Tommy recovered in the hospital, his friends sent Buddy to be trained as a service dog. Buddy can now sense when Thomas is close to a seizure. If a seizure does occur, he's trained to get help. The rat terrier, basenji mix and his owner are inseparable.
"It wouldn't be possible for me to function a normal life without him," he said.
But Thomas Sosack doesn't let a fear of seizures keep him from giving back to the community.
"We want to say thank you to Tommy and Buddy," said Riden.
All content © Copyright 2000 - 2013 WorldNow and KWWL. All Rights Reserved.
Persons with disabilities who need assistance with issues relating to the content of this station's public inspection file should contact Administrative Assistant Sandy Youngblut at 319-291-1259. Questions or concerns relating to the accessibility of the FCC's online public file system should be directed to the FCC at 888-225-5322, at 888-835-5322 (TTY) or at email@example.com.