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. Jennifer Beylickjian and Grace, Ms Joyce Bitzer and Shiann, Steven and Betty Ann Dhein and Sophie, Mr. Phillip Jones and Jack, Ms. Patricia Mizak and Racine, and Ms. Kathy Walker and Secret.
Volunteers were given gift bags for themselves and their dogs that included: a $25 Pet Smart gift certificate, a $50 gift certificate toward immunizations costs, a certificate for Classy Curbside Clippers Mobile Dog Grooming Service, dog treats and gourmet dog food samples from Barkley’s Gourmet Marketplace, a frisbie and a tennis ball donated by Pet Smart.
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.
Pictured left to right: Back Row- Lynne Danik, Director of Volunteer Resources, Tracey Bardecker, Volunteer, Pat Mizak, Volunteer, Terri Parkes, Sharon Barkalow, Betty Ann Dhein, Volunteer, Phil Jones and his dog Jack, Volunteer, Kathy Walker, Volunteer, Joyce Betzer, Volunteer and Karen DiPaola, Coordinator, Volunteer Resources. First Row: Diesel, Pet therapy dog, Kelly Otero, Racine, Pet therapy dog, Robert P. Wise, President and CEO, Hunterdon Healthcare, Sophie, Pet therapy dog, Pam Wells, Secret, Pet Therapy dog and Shiann, Pet therapy dog.
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