Therapeutic Support from a Furry Friend
When Stella visits Gilda's Club Westchester, she's hard to miss – you're most likely to find her socializing at family events (sometimes even in costume), or cuddling during a children's group. Stella is a two year old standard poodle, with fur the color of coffee ice cream and a sweet personality to match.
Stella is a registered therapy dog who began visiting Gilda's Club Westchester last fall. Our members, staff, and volunteers aren't the only ones who think she's special – Stella is the 2012 American Humane Association's Therapy Hero Dog of the Year and has earned awards and nominations from the American Kennel Club and Therapy Dogs International.
We know that sometimes people touched by cancer need more than human support. Many doctors, patients and researchers agree that animal-assisted therapy can greatly improve emotional and physical well-being.
• According to Livestrong, animal-assisted therapy is known to reduce depression in patients undergoing chemotherapy.
• Livestrong also reports that service animals lessen anxiety and stress and can reduce the perception of physical pain.
• From our experience, we know that the unconditional love and support that animals provide can be soothing to adults and children who may not otherwise feel comfortable discussing what they are going through.
Children, teens and families manager Jen Scully talks about how important Stella is to the kids at the Clubhouse: "Children who come to Gilda's Club Westchester are going through extraordinary circumstances. Having cancer in their families causes great stress, anxiety, fear, anger, and sadness. When they see Stella, that melts away... her accepting nature allows kids to be kids... to play, to laugh, to be quiet, to reflect, to be sad, to just be."
Your support ensures that we can offer unique resources as an essential complement to medical care... all free of charge. Please make a gift today.