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URMC / Strong Memorial Hospital / Friends of Strong / The Best of Friends Blog / November 2020 / Annual Fundraiser Features An Ever-Growing Pack of Pet Therapy Dogs

Annual Fundraiser Features An Ever-Growing Pack of Pet Therapy Dogs

Our ever-popular Pet Therapy Dog wall calendar—2021 edition—is now available at the Friends of Strong Gift Shop. Featuring our ever-growing pack of 20 "celebrity" pups who provide uplifting comfort and engagement to patients of all ages, this cute calendar benefits patient- and family-centered care initiatives throughout Strong Memorial Hospital.

The cover of the 2021 edition of the pet therapy dog calendar features two of our smaller breed pups nestled among evergreens in a rocky, winter-like scene, sans snow.
A Cute Addition to Your Home or Office
These cute calendars make a great gift for animal-lovers of all ages and are available for just $9.99 at the Friends of Strong Gift Shop located on the first floor of Golisano Children's Hospital or online for delivery to patient rooms. ​

Can’t make it to the Gift Shop? Call (585) 275-2420 to order a copy shipped anywhere in the contiguous U.S. (a $4.99 shipping and handling fee applies).

With this fourth edition, our Pet Therapy calendar fundraiser has become an annual tradition. "Last year's calendar sold out in record time, and we're hoping that with pretty well everyone ready to say goodbye to 2020, this new calendar will be a much-anticipated, and restorative way to welcome the new year," says Luanne Crosby, Friends of Strong Gift Shop Manager.

Twenty one years, 63 dogs and countless tail wags since first arriving at Strong, the ever-popular Pet Therapy Dog program today consists of more than two dozen certified therapy dogs—together with their handlers—bringing joy and happiness to our patients, their families and our staff.

As Chief Operating Officer of Strong Memorial Hospital, Kathy Parrinello knows well the impact of our pet therapy program for patients, families and staff. “It’s remarkable to witness the unwavering dedication that these pups—and their handlers—exhibit in volunteering throughout our hospital and our community year after year,” she says. “They, too, embody many of the values and outcomes we strive for, and they provide patients of all ages with a unique sense of healing comfort and wonder that often goes unmatched.”

In normal times, these popular pups would provide a sense of comfort for ruff-ly 65 patients in any given week—easily more than 60,000 visits throughout the years!

This past year, as COVID-19 became prevalent in New York State, throughout the nation and around the globe, many health care services and volunteer programs were placed “on paws,” and our therapy dogs were among the first volunteers to stay home as a necessary safety precaution.

But with greater understanding of coronavirus, we’ve continued adjusting to new ways of working, and volunteering, safely. Thanks to the successes and hard work of our health care staff, we’ve been able to welcome back these popular pups for touch-free staff visits . . . and we eagerly anticipate a time when patient visits can again be offered.

“How special it is and how lucky we are at Strong Memorial Hospital to have our pet therapy dogs,” Kathy points out. “Especially this year, the comfort they’ve brought to our team members who continue to work so tirelessly under these challenging circumstances has been an extraordinary gift.”

The Pet Therapy Program is just one of the many ways we at Friends of Strong seek to give back to the hospital and foster exceptional care for everyone. This past year, we were able to provide financial assistance throughout the hospital by funding such initiatives as providing infant safe-sleep swaddles for every baby born at Strong, as well as ongoing support for many other programs and initiatives aimed at positively enhancing the health care experience for patients and their families.


Matt Ulakovic | 11/19/2020

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