HMC Honors Ernest L. Wells Pet Therapy Volunteers
Caption (L-R) Kenan Lake, Coordinator, Volunteer Services, Karen DiPaola, Director, Volunteer Services, Sharon Barkalow, Betty Ann Dhein with Sophie, Patrick Gavin, President and CEO, Hunterdon Healthcare, Philip Jones with Jack, Philippe Beekman, Senior Vice President, Hunterdon Healthcare Foundation, Pam Wells, Terri Parks, Joyce Bitzer with Shiann and Mariel, Jill Drake with Aspen, Joseph Diehl with Kirby, Ellen Apgar with Oreo and Kelly Otero in the front.
Volunteers from Hunterdon Medical Center’s Ernest L. Wells Pet Therapy Program gathered for the annual Pet Therapy Recognition Dinner sponsored by donor Pamela Wells – whose late husband Ernest is the namesake of the program. The purpose of the annual recognition dinner is to recognize the tremendous contributions made by both the human and dog pet therapy volunteers.
Since 1995, Hunterdon Medical Center’s Pet Therapy Program has used canine volunteers to soothe 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, volunteers were honored with a heartfelt speech by Wells, who is dedicated to expanding the program that is named after her late husband. Volunteers were given gift bags for themselves and their dogs to enjoy.
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.
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