The healing effects of a wagging tail are well-documented. Research shows a visit from a friendly pup can reduce pain, anxiety, depression and fatigue. Even Florence Nightingale recommended “a small pet animal” as an “excellent companion for the sick.”
Here at Silver Cross, our pet therapy dogs bring smiles to everyone they encounter. If you or someone you know is hospitalized, you can request a visit from one of our furry friends!
Request a Visit
Silver Cross currently has several dog/handler teams that visit our patients in the hospital. If you’re interested in a dose of puppy love during your stay, please contact (815) 300-7975.
Our teams also visit organizations and schools in the community with special needs.
Our Pet Therapy Team
Meet some of our friendly dogs:
Full Name: Asta
Owners: Jerry and Terry Giorgi
Breed: Wire Hair Fox Terrier
Birthday: April 16, 2015
Background: Asta lives on a farm in Frankfort with her brother, Ranger, and several other animals. A very busy girl, Asta’s made more than 200 visits to Silver Cross, nursing homes, and special recreation centers. She and her brother compete in Barn Hunt competitions and have received many awards. But what Asta loves most of all is meeting people, giving kisses and receiving hugs.
Full Name: Bailey
Owners: Billy Condit
Breed: Toy Lab
Birthday: July 13, 2013
Background: Bailey and his owner, Billy Condit, are enjoying visiting with patients, guests and staff at Silver Cross as well as "Cancer Support" in Mokena. Soon, he will start visiting the Anthem Nursing Home in Tinley Park. Bailey is approximately 53 lbs. and is considered a full-grown Toy Lab at this time.
Full Name: Colleen Renee
Owners: Mark H. Pelech
Breed: AKC Registered Golden Retriever
Birthday: November 27, 2017
Likes: Colleen is a typical Golden Retriever—she loves people of all ages and approaches everyone with unbridled enthusiasm and a wagging tail that seems to be in perpetual motion. She enjoys having her ears rubbed and chin scratched but relishes receiving attention of any kind. Retrieving items and scavenging for food are her passions!
Background: Colleen was bred at Nitro Golden Retrievers Kennel in Little Valley, New York. Nitro Goldens owner\breeder is a law enforcement professional that has developed a line of champion Goldens both in the U.S. and Canada that serve as K9 Police and Search and Rescue dogs.
Colleen was bred and trained to be a therapy dog and has been living with her owner Mark and two rescued Shiba Inus since she was 8 weeks old. She passed her TDI (Therapy Dogs International) test 10 days after her 1st birthday. She is scheduled to take the AKC CGC (Canine Good Citizen) and CGC-Urban tests.
While at the hospital, Colleen spends much of her time in the main lobby by the information desk. You won’t miss her because her enthusiasm for people will find you.
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.
Background: 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 a 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: Sterling Blue Comet
Owners: Jerry and Maria Weber
Breed: Siberian Husky
Birthday: February 19, 2012
Background: Her Family always had cats, so they needed guidance on how to raise a well-rounded dog. Comet went to obedience classes at 10 weeks old and had her CGC at 7 months. She received her TDI Certification after her first birthday. Comet loves interacting with people and thinks everyone is her best friend. She still takes both obedience and agility classes and shares her family with three cats.
Full Name: Daisy
Owner: Bonnie Groeneveld
Breed: Snoodle (Schnauzer/Poodle)
Birthday: April 17, 2013
Background: Daisy chose her human family by being a fuzzy fur ball. She loves having her chin rubbed and being around people. She is very smart and learns quickly. Pleasing those around her is her biggest asset. She enjoys playing with the three large Labradoodle dogs that come to visit. She love exploring her yard and sniffing for new animals.
Full Name: Elsa
Breed: Labrador Retriever
Birthday: March, 2007
Background: Elsa was a rescue pup with a lot of potential! As her family quickly discovered, Elsa’s affectionate, gentle nature was matched only by her desire to learn and please. She breezed through all levels of dog training, earning her Canine Good Citizen Award and Therapy Dogs International Certificate. In 2016, Elsa began working at Joliet Junior College, helping ease student stress levels before exams. In January 2017, she brought her sunny disposition to Silver Cross. She’s very social and loves meeting people, especially kids. Elsa also enjoys long walks, going "bye-bye" in the car, playing with her cousin Delilah and most of all, snuggle time!
Full Name: Flower
Owner: Denise Lannon
Birthday: June 26, 2010
Background: Her name is Flower, but she's often called "Flower Girl". Her collars are always handcrafted with flowers on them. She loves to wear cute dresses and sweaters when she goes out. She only weighs 4 pounds and so she is very watchful of where people walk. She likes to stay warm so you will find her snuggled in her blanket or under the covers in bed. She loves to travel and her parents take her just about everywhere. Flower's travels are often by car but she also travels by airplane, boat and train. She is a seasoned camper and bike rider too! She loves meeting new people and other furry friends. She is TDI and CGC certified. When she’s not at Silver Cross, she is working with children and their therapists.
Full Name: Hope
Owner: Gary Piercy
Breed: Yellow Labrador Retriever
Birthday: March 15, 2009
Background: Hope likes (in order of preference) eating, catching her Frisbee, running, sleeping and kayaking. She is very friendly and loves to meet new people. Her goal is to one day catch that antagonistic squirrel in the backyard.
Full Name: Kasey
Owner: Kathleen Wagner
Breed: AKC Standard Poodle
Birthday: October 12, 2007
Background: Kasey has been a therapy dog with Therapy Dogs International and Canine Good Citizen since 2010. He enjoys playing ball with our seven grandchildren and taking walks in the nearby hayfield. He is very good at alerting us when a visitor is coming to the door. The birds were especially appreciative of his efforts to keep the squirrels off the feeder during the winters. When he is not busy outdoors, he loves to be petted or brushed.
Full Name: Kato
Owner: John Sass
Breed: German Shepherd
Birthday: March 11, 2012
Background: Kato is a loving, playful and intelligent pure-bred German Shepherd. He received his therapy dog certification from Therapy Dog International and has also received the AKC Canine Good Citizen Certificate. Kato loves to play fetch, catch and, most of all, Frisbee. He catches the Frisbee on the fly, and most recently, can catch a second Frisbee without dropping the one already in his mouth. Kato is a very social dog and greatly enjoys participating in the Therapy Dog program at Silver Cross Hospital.
Full Name: Raspberry Woods Lucy Loo (Lucy)
Owner: Celene Fitzgerald
Breed: AKC Registered Standard Poodle
Birthday: November 23, 2015
Background: Lucy has been in obedience training for two years and earned her Canine Good Citizen Award in 2016. She received her Therapy Dogs International Certification in May 2017. Lucy is an extremely gentle and caring dog. She began visiting at Silver Cross Hospital in July 2017. She is loving all the attention and hugs she receives and gives all her love in return. Lucy's very favorite thing to do is swim, but she also likes to chase squirrels, play fetch and can catch the ball on the fly. She loves playing with the 11 young grandchildren and is quite accomplished at playing hide and seek. I hope and feel that she brings a sense of peace and joy to everyone she meets.
Full Name: Piranha Banana
Birthday: Jan 1, 2007
Find me in: A Bow Tie
Background: 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 column 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: Princess
Owner(s): Keith and Breydon Valentino
Likes: catching her tennis ball, snuggling with her family, going for car rides, sprinting around the back yard and napping.
Background: Princess is a Certified Therapy Dog by Therapy Dogs International and also received her certificate for the AKC Canine Good Citizen award. Princess is an extremely soft, kind and gentle dog. She will only eat her meals if they've been warmed up first. Princess thrives on attention and is always right by us keeping us company, along with following us everywhere we go. She gets very excited when visitors come over, greeting them with a friendly bark and a lick on the face. Princess lives up to her name on a daily basis and is one of the sweetest dogs you'll meet. Princess is a rescue dog and our family feels blessed to have found her.
Full Name: Ranger
Breed: Wire Hair Fox Terrier
Owners: Jerry and Terry Giorgi
Birthday: December 2015
Background: Ranger has received Therapy Dog International’s highest award – over 500 visits! Ranger lives on a farm in Frankfort with his sister, Asta. He loves coming to Silver Cross and meeting employees, patients and visitors. When’s he’s not “rounding” at the hospital, Ranger enjoys chasing the chickens or anything that runs from him, competing in Barn Hunt events, and sleeping with Mom, Dad and Asta.
Full Name: Summer
Breed: Labrador Retriever
Owner: Ray Garritano
Background: Summer is a Labrador Retriever who is pure white. At thirteen months of age, she earned her Canine Good Citizen, Canine Good Citizen Advanced, and Therapy Dogs International (TDI) Certifications. Her owner, Ray Garritano and Summer trained together for eight months for Summer to garner those certificates. Summer loves everyone and could play for hours with children. Every day is a happy day for her. Summer has a sister named Molly who is a four-year-old Chihuahua who has her Canine Good Citizen Certification. Summer and Molly play well together because, counter to general belief, Molly also loves everyone, too! Summer would love to say hello to you at Silver Cross Hospital. You cannot miss her due to her bright white and soft as silk coat.
Full Name: Tuxedo
Owners: Elice and Brian DeRoos
Breed: Shih Tzu Poodle (ShihPoo)
Birthday: March 2012
Background: Tux received his Canine Good Citizen and Therapy Dog International Certification in 2016. In addition to visiting Silver Cross, he enjoys going to Lincolnway Special Recreation Center. When he isn't busy with therapy work, Tux loves doing agility and playing with little sister Breeze. Breeze is a very rambunctious 2-year old that keeps Tux on his toes!
Fun Fact: Tuxedo was jet black with a white chest and paws when he was born (hence his name). He went gray after just three months and goes by Tux now.
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.