Love on a Leash: Meet this year’s Mission Leadership Award winners

I have a great blog topic for you this week. It’s about a group of loveable, unassuming and gentle volunteers who bring a special healing presence to our hospitals and outpatient programs. I’m talking about our animal-assisted therapy teams, and if you’ve ever had the chance to interact with them, you know what a powerful impact they can have on our patients, families and caregivers.

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Love on a Leash: This heartwarming video about this year’s Mission Leadership Award winners is sure to bring a smile to your face.

Our annual Mission Leadership Award is one of Providence’s highest honors, and I am pleased to announce that this year’s recipients are:

  • Pet Assisted Wellness Services at Providence Alaska Medical Center in Anchorage
  • Providence Animal-Assisted Activities at Providence Saint Peter in Olympia, Wash.

Please join me in congratulating and thanking them for their service to Providence.  It takes a special animal to do this type of work, and I am grateful to the owners who recognize this gift within their own pet and take the significant time required to train, groom and share their four-legged creature with our patients. Our animal teams embody our Mission by sharing their gift for unconditional love with each person they encounter. They are also a great example of how we can work with volunteers to serve those in need and create healthier communities, together.

As someone who has always had pets in the home (my family has two dogs and two turtles), I appreciate the unspoken bond between animals and people. This video about our award winners captures that relationship perfectly and shows the calming, loving presence that animals bring to our lives.

Watch the video and let me know what you think. If you have been touched by the programs in Anchorage or Olympia, please tell us about it in the comments section, or if you have a program in your hospital, or even a favorite animal team, I invite you to give them a shout out below. I also encourage you to read about all the nominees for this year’s Mission Leadership Award, which you can find here.

  1. Hi,
    I’m so proud of this program. I am a volunteer for Dog therapy program at Providence St. Vincent Hospital in Oregon with my dog CHARM for the past 3 years. I love Providence and the program so much that I applied for a Epic Training job for Providence 2 years ago and have been doing both ever since. We produce a calendar once a year and the profits go back to the hospital. It’s such joy to be involved in this wonderful program. There are dozens of wonderful stories to tell about how these dogs have helped so many people. The first one is one of my favorites!

  2. I love this video! As animal lovers especially dogs (I have 2 dogs at home), I know that they are wonderful animal that are willing to give unconditional love to anyone who needs it and without expecting anything in returned. I am so glad that Providence acknowledged that animal can and do play an important part of help healing patient’s body and soul!

  3. What a wonderful reward and recognition to our furry friends and handlers!!! I’ve been volunteering at the Pet Partners Team Evaluations regularly for a couple of years now. I came a long way as I had had lifetime fear for dogs (small or big). Four years ago when my father passed away, I made up my mind to overcome this fear of life, as I realized how fragile and short human life is. I’ve worked with Christi Dudzik, HealingPaws founder, and her therapeutic dogs, for 2.5 years till I could concur the fear! My dream is to have my dog, become therapeutic dog/hander, and serve at hospitals, hospices, assisted living facilities, etc., in the future. I’m so grateful to the therapeutic dogs (now my friends) for all the TLC provided to me. I’ll give it back to the community for sure.

  4. What a wonderful video! We are so proud of our Pawsitive Pet Program at Providence Saint John’s Health Center in Santa Monica. I see, everyday, the impact the therapy dogs have on our patients, visitors and staff. They are an essential piece to the healing environment here at Saint John’s.

  5. As an employee & community member, I am really proud to see Providence recognize and support the amazing healing and joy that animal therapy can provide to our patients.

  6. We (Providence) also have “Astro” at the Sexual Assault Clinic in Lacey WA. Astro provides comfort for kids during the difficult process of sexual assault examinations and court appearances.

  7. Love these programs! Animals can be healers, too. I follow Studley on Facebook – he is one of my favorites. I wonder if some of the dogs have pages too?

    • Thanks for the note, Louise. Didn’t realize Studley had a Facebook page. He is a real celebrity. 🙂