The comforting affects of animals have been noticed through the years. Put simply, dogs make people smile. Even Florence Nightingale recommended “a small pet animal” as an “excellent companion for the sick.” Silver Cross Hospital offers a comprehensive Pet Therapy program for our patients and are excited for patients to experience the healing effects of a wagging tail.
How It Works
Silver Cross currently has several dog/handler teams visiting patients in the hospital. Thinking less about their illness also means that patients feel less anxiety, pain, blood pressure and loneliness. Patients are encouraged to request a visit if they are interested in a dose of puppy love during their stay at Silver Cross. Our teams also visit organizations and schools in the community with special needs.
Request a Visit
To schedule a visit from one of our Pet Therapy dogs, please contact (815) 300-7975. Meet some of our friendly dogs listed below.
Meet The Dogs
- Bella D.
- Bella S.
- Piranha Banana
To learn more about Pet Therapy or if you are interested in having your dog certified with Therapy Dogs International (TDI) to volunteer with Silver Cross Hospital, please contact Laura Valencik, at (815) 300-7579.
Bayou was born September 1, 2005, in New Orleans, three days after Hurricane Katrina. The litter of three pups was shipped to P.A.W.S. in Tinley Park. We adopted her in December of 2005. She completed AKC Canine Good Citizen, and certification by Therapy Dogs International. She is happy to visit patients, visitors, staff and volunteers at Silver Cross Hospital. She loves petting and relaxes when 'hands' are at work on her. Bayou received her TDIA from Therapy Dogs International in December of 2012.
Full name: Mainsail's Queen Isabella (named to honor the Queen who helped Columbus sail to America)
Owners: Don & Debi Duggins (Debi works as an RN at Silver Cross)
Breed: AKC registered Newfoundland (Newfie)
Birthday: Aug. 15, 2006. Weight: 115 pounds
Likes: food (especially sweets) and her toys
Dislikes: not being able to see people's faces
”It has been a blessing to be part of the Pet Therapy program. The volunteer program is well organized, and we enjoy the joy that Bella brings to patients, visitors, and staff. Bella surprises people with her large size, but Newfies are known as "gentle giants" and all that hair is good for petting! Bella likes the attention and likes to do her tricks; when she has completed her therapy visits, she likes to take a long drink of water and a nap!”
Full name: Connie Sue's Lil Bella Boo
Owner: Connie Shifflet
Breed: AKC Registered Yorkshire Terrier
Birthday: March 20, 2011
Likes: Bella likes to cuddle and play with her big sister, Harley, who is also a six-year-old Yorkshire Terrier.
Harley is a full blood Yorkshire Terrier who was born blind. Bella loves Harley and looks after her. Bella senses that Harley needs help and love, and she gives it to Harley every day. Harley and Bella cuddle every day in their little bed. Bella loves cheese and carrots as reward for tricks she will do. Bella is only 4 lbs. and loves to wear pretty little dresses and be carried around inside my coach bag. Bella (Boo) is full of love and she is more than willing to share her love with patients at Silver Cross Hospital and other venues of ill patients needing the love of a wonderful little (loving) dog!
Bella completed Basic Obedience from Stone City Kennel Club in New Lenox in November 2011. She became a Certified Therapy Dog with Therapy Dog International in June 2013.
Full Name: Birdie Girl
Breed: Cocker Spaniel
Owner: Penny Wappel
Birthday: May 26, 2009
Birdie was born May 26, 2009. She completed her AKC Canine Good Citizenship in 2010 and Therapy Dog International certificate in 2011. She is a very happy outgoing dog, her tail never stops wagging! She loves people especially children. She also visits nursing homes, assisted living homes and participates in several library s “Children Reading to dogs” program. She gets very excited when she gets her fancy collar and TDI scarf put on, she knows she s going to make a visit. We are very happy to be a part of Silver Cross Pet Therapy program.
Fun Fact: Birdie met Piranha in their CGC class and they have been best friends ever since. They love making their visits together and earlier this year they had fun modeling in the lnternational Kennel Club dog show at Mc Cormick Place. One of Birdies favorite things to do is cuddling together for long naps.
Full name: Blackjack
Owners: Darrell & Kim Malizia
Breed: Labrador/Huskie Mix
Birthday: Dec. 31, 2006
Background: Rescued from an Indiana kill shelter by Plainfield Hospital, BlackJack was adopted at 10 wks old. “We knew he was something special with-in the first few weeks," said Darrell Malizia. "He was very calm and showed a great interest in learning.” BlackJack started formal therapy training at home when he was 9 months old and became a certified therapy dog shortly after his first birthday.
Fun Fact: BlackJack is also the area’s only canine magicians. He performs magic tricks that entertain children and adults alike. Add to that a friendly demeanor and a constantly wagging tail and you have a winning combination that brings a smile to everyone.
Full name: Brod Hyll's No Monk-In Around
Breed: AKC Registered Black and Tan Coonhound
Background: Luther was born in 2012 and received his Therapy Dog Certification in 2013. Luther accompanies his Mom to work during the day. Most nights, Luther works his "job" at home...keeping the couch from "levitating" to the ceiling.
He is new to Silver Cross Hospital's Pet Therapy Program and is looking forward to visiting patients and their families!!!
Full name: Piranha Banana
Birthday: Jan 1., 2007
Find me in: A Bow Tie
Piranha Banana has had extensive training towards certification for the CGC, therapy assistance and dog tricks. Besides Silver Cross Hospital, he visits nursing homes, schools and libraries to help children improve their reading skills. He runs a local chihuahua socialization and learning group with over 150 members and works with various charitable organizations to help local shelters, rescues and fosters in need. Piranha has a small colum in the local paper titled 'Piranha's Tales' which describes some of his daily life activities and the people he meets.
Tricks: High-five, hide, roll-over, bang-bang, sit pretty, patty cake, take a bow, wave hello and shake paw (with persuasion).
Favorite Foods: Bananas, carrots, chicken and broccoli.
Loves: Playing in fluffy blankets, floppy toys, sunshine on his belly and lying on fresh green grass.
Fun Fact: Piranha was on WCIU-TV during the month of March last year and has appeared on the Jonathon Brandmeier Show, where he met Teresa Guidice from Housewives of New Jersey. He has modeled at the International Kennel Club dog show in McCormick place (with therapy dog friend, Birdie Girl) and was special guest model for the Helium Gallery's Chihuahua Awareness Benefit. You can see more of Piranha's photos, stories and videos on his website at www.piranhabanana.com.
Full name: Ramsey
Breed: Cocker Spaniel
Owner: Peggy Draksler
Birthday: Dec. 22, 2010
Background: Ramsey was rescued from a Naperville shelter when he was 6 months old. He received his AKC Canine Good Citizenship and certification by Therapy Dogs International in May of 2012. He began the Pet Therapy Program at Silver Cross Hospital in September of 2012. He loves coming to the hospital to visit patients and is always eager to ride the elevator.
Fun Fact: Ramsey waits patiently every morning for the newspaper to be delivered as he retrieves it from the delivery man. In the afternoon he waits again for the mailman as he also retrieves the mail.
Full name: Ranger
Nickname: Dr. Ranger
Owners: Jerry and Terry Giorgi
Birthday: May 4, 2007
Background: Ranger lives on a farm in Frankfort with many other animals/pals. He loves to chase squirrels and birds and any other animal that will run from him and also run through the creek. He also loves to nap, do tricks and get treats. He looks forward to going to Silver Cross to meet people, get hugs and be loved. I think those that meet him leave with a smile.
Full name: Roxie
Breed: Great Dane
Background: Roxie is a 7 year-old Great Dane adopted from Assisi Animal Shelter when she was 1 year old. She has been in the Pet Therapy Program since she was 3 years old, starting at an Alzheimer Village in Phoenix, AZ. She has been at Silver Cross since early in the program - this is her third year. She loves people—children are her favorites. She owns the couch in our family room - humans must receive her permission to sit. She is very protective of her family and friends. She gives and accepts love willingly and graciously.
Full name: Sadie
Breed: cocker spaniel/terrier mix
Owner: Sylvia Erickson
Background: Without a home for almost the first year of her life, Sadie was taken to a kill shelter as a puppy before being rescued by A Caring Place Humane Society in Darien. But it wasn't until March of 2009 that she learned the power of love and companionship. It was this day that she was adopted by New Lenox resident and a retired first grade teacher, Sylvia Erickson.
As a certified therapy dog with Therapy Dogs International, Sadie and her owner walk the halls of Silver Cross Hospital and stop in to visit patients who need a little cheering up.
"She's very, very good with the patients," Sylvia said. "She'll lay her head in the laps of people in wheelchairs. We're working on having her put just her two front paws up the beds so patients can pet her."
Full name: Sophie
Breed: White Fox Terrier
Fun Fact: Sophie has been a Certified Therapy Dog with Therapy Dog International since 2007. During that time she has achieved her TDIA (Therapy Dog International Active Volunteer), TDIAOV - (Therapy Dog International Active Outstanding Volunteer) and just recently achieved her TDIRVA (Therapy Dog Internation Remarkable Volunteer Acheivement). She is quite an accomplished pup!
Sophie dresses up in fun costumes each times she visits, making her visits highly anticipated by staff and patients.
Full name: TJ
Breed: Siberian Chow
Owner: Susan Hausmann
Background: TJ was brought to a shelter in Peoria after his family realized that they could not afford to take care of him anymore. He had been there a few months when he was adopted by his current owner. Once TJ was comfortable in his new home, Susan quickly realized that there was something very special about him and thought that he would make an awesome therapy dog. After training for months, TJ flew through the certification process and has been happily wagging his way through Silver Cross Hospital ever since. "He knows when it's time to go to the hospital," says Susan, "When I put my purple vest on, he hops up and down at the door!"
Fun Fact: TJ loves the snow and any kind of cold weather. He likes to stand in the rain with his face up to the sky. TJ lives with three other dogs and loves to play and wrestle with them, likes carrots and fruit and fetching a ball. He gets brushed every day and goes to doggie daycare two times a week to play with other dogs.
Breed: Chocolate Labrador Retriever
Owner: Steven Manola
Background: Zeus was born November 17, 2003 from a champion line of show dogs, but because of the blonde ring around his tail, he would not have been able to compete in show competitions. Steven has had Zeus since he was six weeks old and five and a half pounds. He was a competition Dock Diving Dog with his longest jump of 26'7"! Retired from Dock Diving in 2010, Zeus needed a new task for him to do for the second half of his life. So it was decided that since he made Steven so happy every day since he was brought home, why not let him make others happy as well
Fun Fact: Zeus received his Canine Good Citizen Award as well as his Therapy Dog International Certificate.
Full Name: Zooey
Breed: Australian Kelpie
Owners: John & Robin Krynicki
Background: Zooey is 4 years old and 40 pounds. Zooey was a survivor of a house fire in Kentucky. She was shipped to Tender Loving Care Animal Shelter in Homer Glen and little else is known. We adopted her on April 27, 2012 and we use that date as her birthday. She received her beginner education at Pet Smart on 12/5/2012. She became certified as a Canine Good Citizen by the American Kennel Club on 2/19/2013. She became a certified therapy dog by Therapy Dog International on 4/28/2013. She is comfort to us as she is to others.