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Hunterdon News

Hunterdon Medical Center Hosts Annual Ernest L. Wells Pet Therapy Volunteer Recognition Dinner

Pictured Back Row (left to right): Lynne Danik, Director of Volunteer Resources for Hunterdon Healthcare; Robert Wise, President and CEO of Hunterdon Healthcare; Joyce Bitzer, Volunteer; Christina O’Malley, Vice President, Hunterdon Healthcare Foundation; Kristen Parks; Kathy Walker, Volunteer; Sharon Barkalow; Terri Parks, Pamela Wells; Joe Dhiel, Volunteer; Betty Ann Dhein, Volunteer; Karen DiPaolo, Coordinator, Volunteer Resources for Hunterdon Healthcare.

Pictured Front Row (Left to Right): Shiann; Phil Jones, Volunteer; Jack; Faith; Ellen Apgar, Volunteer; Oreo; Kirby; Sophie; Kelly Otero.

 Not pictured: Patricia Mizak, and Racine.

November 30, 2017

Volunteers from Hunterdon Medical Center’s Ernest L. Wells Pet Therapy Program gathered for the fourth 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. Joyce Bitzer and Shiann, Mrs. Betty Ann Dhein and Sophie, Mr. Phillip Jones and Jack, Mr. Joseph Dhiel and Kirby, Ms. Kathy Walker with Faith, and Ms. Patricia Mizak and Racine.

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.

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.


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