Fourth Annual Ernest L. Wells Pet Therapy Volunteer Recognition Dinner

 Volunteers from Hunterdon Medical Center’s Ernest L. Wells Pet Therapy Program gathered for the third annual Pet Therapy Recognition Dinner sponsored by donor Pamela Wells – whose late husband Ernest is the namesake of the program since 2013.  The purpose of the annual recognition dinner is to recognize the tremendous contributions made by both the human and dog pet therapy volunteers.

Since 1994, Hunterdon Medical Center’s Pet Therapy Program has used canine volunteers to sooth and cheer patients.  The program has grown over the years and currently has seven dogs that come and visit patients each day.  The program has expanded to include areas outside of the hospital such as, Briteside Adult Day Center, Bright Tomorrows Child Care Center, Hunterdon Hospice and Hunterdon Regional Cancer Center.

At the event, the following volunteers and their dogs were recognized in appreciation of their time given to help patients heal: Ms.Tracey Bardecker and Diesel, Ms. Joyce Bitzer and Shiann, Mrs. Betty Ann Dhein and Sophie, Mr. Phillip Jones and Jack, Mr. Joseph Diehl and Kirby, Ms. Kathy Walker with Faith and Secret, Ms. Patricia Mizak and Racine and Ms. Jennifer Beylickjian and Grace.

Volunteers were given gift bags for themselves and their dogs that included: a $25 gift certificate from Barkley’s Gourmet Marketplace, a $50 gift certificate to cover immunization costs and a gift certificate for one grooming service from Classy Curbside Clippers all courtesy of the Ernest L. Wells Pet Therapy Program; an assortment of gourmet dog treats and dog food samples donated by Barkley’s Gourmet Marketplace; a squeak toy, tennis ball and assortment of dog treats donated by PetSmart of Flemington; and a bag of custom baked gourmet cookies from Well Bred Pet Store in Clinton, NJ

Hunterdon Healthcare is currently seeking new pet therapy volunteers.   All Hunterdon Medical Center pet therapists must meet the following requirements: Proof of Bright and Beautiful or Therapy Dog International, Inc training, certification, ID card and insurance coverage; a copy of the Hunterdon Healthcare Therapy Dog Annual Health Record Form; a minimum of 25 hours of Pet Therapy experience documented at a school, nursing home or library within a six month period and three reference letters.

To learn how you and your dog can volunteer with Hunterdon Medical Center’s Ernest L. Wells Pet Therapy Program, please contact HMC’s Volunteer Resources at 908.788.6140.

Back Row (left to right): Tracey Bardecker, Volunteer, Lynne Danik, Director of Volunteer Resources, Kathy Walker, Volunteer, Robert P. Wise, President and CEO, Hunterdon Healthcare, Christina O’Malley, Vice President Hunterdon Healthcare Foundation, Pamela Wells, Joyce Bitzer, Volunteer, Joseph Diehl, Volunteer, Phil Jones, Volunteer, Betty Ann Dhein, Volunteer, and Karen DiPaola, Coordinator, Volunteer Resources.

First Row: Diesel, Faith, Shiann, Kirby, Jack and Sophie

Not pictured: Kathy Walker’s dog Secret, Patricia Mizak and Racine and Jennifer Beylickjian and Grace.