Buddy the Therapy Dog

Our Therapist Has Four Legs

Buddy Stats

Miss Becky’s Block Island Buddy aka Buddy
Born July 9, 2015 from Country Acres Goldens in Pomfret, CT.
Contact Sandy Boucher (860) 928-1466 countryacresgoldens@gmail.com www.countryacresgoldens.com

Contact Jenny Dickinson (401) 435-6286

AKC – Canine Good Citizen Test completed June 3, 2016
Instagram – twinfield18
Facebook – Tommy Winfield

Therapy Dog Buddy | Grief emotional support animal esa dog

How Did Buddy Become Buddy

Aka Miss Becky’s Block Island Buddy

Hello, My name is Tommy Winfield and this is the story of my dog Buddy

When my wife Becky and I were first married, Becky had a Golden Retriever. Her name was Abby. She was a good dog as she stayed at Roberta’s. Roberta is my Mother-In-Law. I never had a dog growing up, so I didn’t know what I was getting myself into. Knowing what I know now I would have had a dog in my world a lot earlier.

One night I came home and walked into the house, Becky was very upset. I asked what was wrong. She just about got it out, she was very distraught. I was able to decipher that Abby had passed away. She was really upset and hurt, and it lingered for a long time. I finally said to Becky, it’s time for another dog, here is some money go with Roberta (MIL) and told her to get another Golden (Golden Retrievers are commonly referred to as a Golden).

Well they came home with two dogs !       TWO !

She placed a little fuzzy golden nugget in my arms. She then told me they had gotten two dogs. One for Roberta and one for us. Well, I can tell you it’s very difficult to say no to a little puppy. I said he could stay under one condition, that he go to obedience school. Becky kept her promise, and he was a great dog, but I am getting ahead of myself.

When they were in the car driving home Roberta and Becky named the dogs. Roberta named her dog Kelsey, or who I called Miss Kelsey. Becky named ours, Colby. I couldn’t have that as that was the name of  Kevin Fugere’s son, who was the goalie on my hockey team. We went around and around a bit and we settled on Willy. His AKC name was Miss Rebecca’s William. Now everyone thinks I named him after Willy Hawkins, but I would be lying to you. I had another plan.

So, Willy became Willy and I let the dog acclimate to his name. Several months went by and one day there was a torrential downpour. Willy was in the backyard, and he was completely soaked. I then turned to Becky and said “Look my Willy is all wet !” If you could have seen Becky’s face, to this day I can see it and also to this day I cannot name our dogs.

It was worth it !

Shortly thereafter we added another Golden Retriever to our family. Becky named him Jack. His AKC name was Mr. Speaker Jack. They were great dogs and the years slipped by. They were a big part of Becky and me. They were our family. Today, just like back then, if you come over for a visit to our home you will find a short blonde hair or two on you when you leave our home.

We have entrusted our dog’s health with Dr. Floyd Graham of the Greenville Animal Hospital here in Greenville, RI.  Becky’s family has been with him since he opened his practice and we didn’t see a reason to change. With all good things they do come to an end, Dr. Graham retired and we are now all under the care of the Fergerson Animal Hospital in North Providence.

Becky and Tom Winfield
Willy and Jack

Then one day eleven years later Jack wasn’t himself. To the vet we went. Jack didn’t come home that day, but I stayed with him and laid on the floor with him till he was gone. He was a good dog. We were lucky to have him for eleven years. (Jack 8.6.2015)

On the ride home Becky said one thing, “Promise me there will always be a Golden in the house.” My mind went all the way back when I walked into the house and Becky was crying because Abby had passed. There are just some things you don’t forget.

Well, seven weeks later Willy wasn’t himself. To the vet we went. Willy didn’t come home that day, but I laid on the floor with him till he was gone. He was a great dog. We were lucky to have him for 13 years. (Willy 9.3.2015)

A few weeks later I had to take Miss Kelsey (My MIL’s dog and sister to Willy) to the vet. She didn’t come home that day, but I laid on the floor with her till she was gone. It was not a good time to be a dog with the Winfield family.

It gets better from here on out, I promise.

The hunt to find a new Golden

Thankfully we have the internet and after a few searches and follow up phone calls I found a breeder with one male dog left. The last one picked is commonly referred to as the runt. The Runt ? Hmmm, I had a brief thought that I should walk away.

Country Acres Goldens is run by a family, the Boucher family. Sandy was the heart and soul of the operation. One afternoon Becky and I set out for a ride in the Corvette and ended up in Pomfret, CT. Which happens to be the home of Country Acres Goldens and with a deep breath we hit the doorbell and the rest is history.

Sandy greeted us at the door, and she has one of those personalities that you know you are going to like that person right away. She started talking at the same time moving us to the litter of puppies in the back yard. The only thing I remember is Sandy telling us that the dogs were color coded with ribbons/bows around their necks and the last dog available had a blue bow. Sandy referred to him as Mr. Blue.

Blue ! Did I tell you my favorite color is blue !

Well, we head into the backyard and if you have ever had the opportunity to visit a litter of newborn puppies you know it is sensory overload. I won’t try to describe it but there is a lot going on. And through all of this collision of little bodies there he was, Mr. Blue.

Becky had knelt and it was like one of the puppies shouted charge. They all came running tripping and falling over one another to be the first to get to her hands. Let’s just say it was an emotional day for both of us. We met Mr. Blue. (There are several photos and videos of Buddy’s litter and littermates on countryacresgoldens.com )

House of Representatives Chamber

When you visit with your breeder and select your puppy, they will set up a day and time (gotcha day) for you to come and take him home. Well on the day we were to pick up Buddy (whom was not named yet) Becky packed the truck like we were going to drive around the perimeter of the United States of America. Baby blankets, chew toys, puppy food and a big jug of water. Pomfret is 20 minutes from our home. As excited as we were, I was also terrified. I don’t quite know why but probably a bit of it was that we were still raw from the loss of Willy and Jack.

It was an uneventful ride home. Becky just about squeezed the stuffing out of the little guy. When we got him home, he took one lap around the backyard. He pooped and peed then came into the house took one inquisitive lap around the house and promptly laid down on the tile in front of the fireplace. To this day that is his spot.

While he slept that first hour in his new home Becky and I just stared at him and then looked at each other with that what do we do now look. Here we were starting all over again.


Buddy was a typical Golden Retriever puppy. If you don’t know what that means let me explain. A fuzzy bundle of energy that goes till it drops. So, the routine is this, wake up eat, pee, poop, play, sleep and repeat 24/7. Every day all day.

It was no surprise to us that Buddy was a handful. He was fine with me, but he was a real handful for Becky. We talked about a trainer. We had in the back of our minds a well-behaved dog like Willy and Jack had been. This is when Jenny came into our world. (Jenny Dickinson) She is a cross between Paula Dean and a Marine Drill Sargent.

The short story is Jenny came in and visited with Becky, Buddy, and me. She started out by training us then helped us train and mold Buddy. She came once a week in his formative years then tapered off to once or twice a month depending on what we were working on.  To this day we still work with Jenny.

Early on we were told by Jenny that Buddy has some special attributes. While working with Buddy on how to walk up and greet people down at the local mall. We had Buddy walking and visiting people but there was a man that was following us around just watching us. He was close enough that I asked him if he wanted to see Buddy. He replied yes and I moved Buddy in his direction. He knelt down on one knee and Buddy came in and just leaned in on him. They had a good minute together. He stood up and thanked us. He then told us he was a veteran and was suffering from PTSD. How did Buddy know ? He just did. That is about the time we knew we had a special dog. We knew then that we were lucky to have him.

We continued with our training and one day Jenny said to me “ Do you know what we should do with Buddy ?”  “He should be a therapy dog at the funeral home.” I was an immediate no. That won’t work. I had a very closed mind about dogs in the funeral home, even my own dog and my own business.  

We started out very slowly, I would ask the families that we serve if it was ok if Buddy came into the funeral home during visitation. We received a warm welcome every time he came and the people that had come to pay their respects to the families we serve took to Buddy. We have never received a no. He has been very well received.

Buddy at Work

Our Therapist Has Four Legs

Everyone asks what Buddy actually does at work. First, Buddy does not have free reign to run through the funeral home. He has a corner spot at the funeral home with a bed that is tucked away from the main entrance. He stays there unless I give him the command ( a touch to his body and a verbal ok ) to come off his bed. When he is off his bed he is tethered to Becky or I.

Most visitors to the funeral home will seek him out. Most visitors know that he is there and if they don’t see him, they will ask for Buddy.

We love to see Buddy working or what we call “Buddy doing his thing”. He knows who likes him (animal lovers) and those who don’t. He can be very playful with someone one minute and the next minute he just sits calmly next someone while they pet him. He may give a gentle kiss to a hand or lean against a leg or even give a full kiss to those that are a bit more adventuress. He thrives on his interaction with people. Some people find visiting the funeral home can be a stressful event and Buddy brings a calming presence by just him being at the funeral home.

We are often asked if Buddy works at a hospital. He doesn’t, he works here at the funeral home. His principal job is here at the funeral home. He does visit other places, but he is often invited to those places to which he goes and visits.

Funeral therapy dog, Buddy | Please pet Buddy!


In July of 2017 we acquired another Golden Retriever. We have always had two Goldens and the time was right. Becky named him Teddy. His full AKC name is Smithfield’s Speaker Mr. Teddy. While Teddy is also working with Jenny, we do not have plans for him to work at the funeral home at this time. He is an exceptional companion for Buddy. There is also a little bit of the devil in Teddy.

A funny story about acquiring Teddy. I was filling out the questionnaire by the breeder. It asks some general information and then asks what type of dog, male or female. I hit the male tag and up popped a follow up question, why ?   I answered, I have a wife and four sisters, and I really didn’t need another female in my life. Not five minutes later Mary (Goldiva Goldens) called me. She asked if that was true having four sisters. I said yes and she laughingly told me her brother has five sisters. 

A typical day for Buddy and Teddy starts with them getting up about 4:30am-4:45am. They eat and then take a quick catnap. We are out the door by 6-6:15am. We sometimes go to our local coffee shop and Buddy hangs in the truck with his younger brother Teddy. They have regulars that greet them most mornings as they pass by the truck. When it is slow and nobody is coming to see them, Buddy has been known to drop a toy on the ground as someone passes so they will pick up the toy and give it back and he also gets a head scratch. Buddy is no dummy. 

Does he get paid?

I am often asked if Buddy draws a salary for his work. The short answer is no but he does receive many benefits. (hints of sarcasm)  He gets room and board at the Winfield home. He receives health care from Floyd. He has his own truck to ride in and has an extensive collection of collars, bandanas and bow ties. Bob from Ultrapet, a mobile pet care truck, comes by the house every couple weeks and gives Buddy and Teddy a bath, haircut and nail trim. He also has unconditional love from Becky and I and he has the same for us.


What are Buddies ? Buddies are a small applique’ that you can peel off Buddy’s business card. Yes, Buddy has his own business card. There are different Buddies for different times of the year, holidays, events and causes that we support.

Some examples are in October, Buddy’s business card has pink bows and the Buddy applique’ has a pink bow for Breast Cancer Awareness Month. We celebrate in honor of our mother, Joan, who passed after fighting a 10-year battle with breast cancer.

In December the Buddy applique’ has a little Santa hat to celebrate Christmas. My favorite is the Buddy applique’ with just Buddy and his blue bow.

The common theme of all the Buddies is a small blue bow.

Yep, that little blue bow for Mr. Blue. 


Yes, another Golden !

We acquired (gotcha day) our third Golden Retriever on 10.31.2020. While we were in the middle of the pandemic, he was not a pandemic puppy. We had made the decision and contacted the Breeder (Goldiva Goldens) before the pandemic hit. Nichols Santino, The Boss of Greenville aka Nicky. He is the nephew of Teddy. He has been a great addition to our family. Nicky is the smartest Golden we have had, and he has the temperament to become a Therapy Dog. Becky has said that if I get her a larger home with a maid then I can get another Golden.  We affectionately call the three of them The First Boys of Smithfield.

Sadly, Sandy Boucher, our friend and the breeder of our Buddy had passed away on August 4th, 2023. She left her husband, her children, and a wonderful family of Golden Retrievers.

On April 19th of 2024 we lost our Buddy. He left an incredible legacy of love and compassion. Buddy was a special dog, and we were just lucky enough to have him in our lives. He will always be with us, in our thoughts and in our hearts.

The following is Buddy’s Obituary

House of Representatives Chamber

Miss Becky’s Block Island Buddy, “Buddy”, 8, of Greenville, crossed over the rainbow bridge surrounded by his family at his home in Greenville on Saturday April 20, 2024.

He was sired by Pathfinder Blazing a New Trail, “Hank” to Bella Luna of the Night Sky, “Luna”. Born on July 9, 2015, at the Country Acres Kennels, Pomfret Center, CT under the direction of the late Sandy Boucher. He was placed in the loving home of Thomas and Rebecca Winfield of Greenville, RI on Saturday August 29, 2015. 

In the Fall of 2015 and under direction of Jenny Dickerson of Rumford, RI, Buddy had completed his American Kennel Club Canine Good Citizen Certificate on June 3, 2016. He continued his training and began his service in 2017 as a Therapy Dog at the Anderson-Winfield Funeral Home in Greenville, RI. Bringing comfort and compassion to many who met him. He loved to go to “work”, when we put his vest on, he got a little pep in his step. He knew he was going to greet people who needed him.

Buddy led with a quiet presence; he brought a little golden sunshine wherever he went. He was kind, he was compassionate, and he showered people with unconditional love, and they loved him right back. He understood that some people needed a little more of him than others and he was happy to give of himself.

Buddy loved a good belly rub, a nap on the back porch was the best but a nap anywhere was acceptable. Buddy never missed a good meal. He loved crunchy water (ice cubes) and just about any kind of treat, anytime. He loved scrambled eggs, cheese, apple, and banana slices but would pass on the carrots and broccoli. He was always up for a ride in his truck. He and his bothers loved to stick their heads out of the back window, making people smile when they pulled up behind them. 

He was not much of a water dog but loved a stroll on a beach, block island being his favorite. He was a frequent traveler, and a regular visitor to Block Island, RI, Newport, RI, Boston, MA and Kennebunkport, ME. He was always up for a short walk around the village of Greenville but would leave the long walks to his younger brothers.

A special treat for Buddy was an overnight stay at his grandma and grandpa’s, Roberta, and Ray’s home. His was greeted with a warm facecloth to wipe his face and clean his paws all while he sprawled out of the couch. Roberta cooked him his favorite scrambled eggs and chic-chic (chicken). There, he was the center of their attention, and they spoiled him like an only child. 

He had welcomed his two younger brothers, Smithfield’s Mr. Speaker, “Teddy” on July 8, 2017, and The Boss of Greenville, Nicholas Santino, “Nicky” on October 31, 2020, but he was always the leader of our pack. We affectionately called him Chief. He was known to referee his brothers frequent wrestling matches and would give warning barks when things got out of hand. 

Betty White once said,

“Once someone has had the good fortune to share a true love affair with a Golden Retriever, one’s life and one’s outlook is never quite the same.”  For some, meeting Buddy would change their outlook on life. Buddy was a special dog, and we were just lucky enough to have him in our lives. He will always be with us, in our thoughts and in our hearts. 

While he traveled alone over the rainbow bridge, we know Willy, Jack and Miss Kelsie will be there to greet him. We will miss you Chief !

In lieu of flowers please do an act of kindness for someone in Buddy’s memory.

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You Can Follow Buddy And His Brothers Teddy And Nicky On Instagram At Twinfield18

Funeral Therapy Dog | Buddy on duty RI funeral home services
Golden Retrievers - Nicky, Buddy, Teddy
Buddy and Teddy at the Funeral Home
Buddy with a book| Funeral therapy support dog funeral services