Tuesday, December 23, 2014
The loving pets in our therapy dog program offer comfort to patients and their families.
Tommy, a flat-coated retriever, shows some love to Antonio De Rosa, a reference librarian in MSK’s medical library who won a contest to have his photo taken for our 2015 Caring Canines calendar.
English setters Barkley and Jake represent the Caring Canines program with their bright blue, paw-printed scarves (and MSK ID badges!).
Buddy moves in for his close-up as Phoebe, Tommy, and MSK Physician-in-Chief Jose Baselga pose for the camera.
Blackberry and Twitter take a relaxed approach to calendar stardom, settling in to keep Director of Patient Support Services Von Chaney company while he works.
French bulldog Cooper couldn’t be more excited to be our July calendar pup.
Chocolate Labrador retriever Hope takes a play break from a “ruff” day of shooting. In our 2015 calendar, she poses with a stuffed toy birthday cake.
Nurse practitioner Nadine Lugo gives Satchmo, a Pomeranian, a lift.
Linda Stevenson, Director of Administration at the Sloan Kettering Institute, makes some new furry friends.
Beyond bringing some doggy love to patients at Memorial Hospital, our Caring Canines cheer our faculty and staff members’ days just as much. Here, Tommy greets his adoring fans in the Laboratory Medicine Department during Lab Week in 2014. Sadly, Tommy recently passed away. But his niece, Topsy, has passed her therapy dog test and will soon be joining the team!
There are few things in this world that predictably make almost anyone smile. Some of the cutest examples of those things can be found trotting down the halls of Memorial Sloan Kettering, dispersing snuggles and petting opportunities to anyone in need of a little furry pick-me-up.
Since its founding seven years ago, our therapy dog program, Caring Canines, has brought comfort and cheer to countless patients, family members, guests, and staff at MSK. In 2014 alone, our team of 20 dogs made more than 3,500 patient visits. Pups make the rounds on designated days of the week as well as holidays, including Thanksgiving, Christmas Eve, and New Year’s Eve.
Beyond just offering a break from the routines of hospital life, interacting with a therapy dog can help lessen anxiety and distress, reduce the need for pain medication, give emotional support, and provide a welcome distraction for patients and caregivers alike.
All Caring Canines teams adhere to strict hygiene guidelines to ensure patients’ safety (and all dogs wear their own ID badges). Before they’re chosen to join the pack, handlers must complete training with one of three nationally recognized dog-therapy organizations and go through an interview process. Canine volunteers are observed for behavior to ensure they’ll be comfortable with patients in a hospital setting.
Another perk of the program is the chance to star in our yearly calendar — the 2015 version of which is now available to patients who schedule a visit with one of our four-legged friends. You can pick up your own copy for a small donation at the Memorial Sloan Kettering Gift Shop. All proceeds go to the Caring Canines program.