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Furry friend always ready to offer love and support

  • ORANGE COUNTY REGISTER / TNS / APRIL 27
                                Francisco the Maltipoo, resident mascot at the Woodbridge Terrace of Irvine assisted living facility in California, sits with employees during a staff meeting.

    ORANGE COUNTY REGISTER / TNS / APRIL 27

    Francisco the Maltipoo, resident mascot at the Woodbridge Terrace of Irvine assisted living facility in California, sits with employees during a staff meeting.

Francisco attends most staff meetings at Woodbridge Terrace of Irvine in California and he regularly interacts with residents, though he never says a word.

Don’t let that fool you.

Mimi Poliner, a 94-year-old resident of the 115-person assisted living and memory- care home, said Francisco always has an opinion. He just doesn’t state it.

“He sets an example that everyone here should follow,” she said dryly.

It’s easy to see why Francisco is one of the facility’s most popular personalities. The 10-pound Maltipoo is soft on the inside with his kind disposition and soft on the outside with his perfectly groomed white fur.

The community mascot comes from humble beginnings, said owner Jaye Silva, who is Woodbridge Terrace’s human resources director.

Silva met Francisco when she worked at another facility in La Mirada, where he was the pet of a resident. When the patient could no longer care for him, Silva took the dog home.

She started at Woodbridge Terrace eight months ago and asked if she could bring Francisco to visit her grandfather, who is a resident there.

Everyone noticed the pooch’s easygoing, friendly nature — and when he was left at home.

Management invited Francisco to become the resident mascot, and now his sweet mug adorns community newsletters and residents’ cellphones.

The beauty of Francisco is that he’s like a grandson, Poliner said. “He’s like having the love without the responsibility.”

During a staff meeting recently, Francisco took a seat with about two dozen other employees. When nurse Jennifer Wilkerson arrived, she scooped him up.

“He was just saving the seat for me,” she explained as she snuggled Francisco on her lap.

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