Kona and I have been nominated for an award! How cool is that? We were nominated for the 2011 Planetree Therapy Animal of the Year award at the VA. There was an essay written about us and everything! Check this out-(I've removed some of the names for privacy reasons.)
When you see him, he greets you with a smile and is always happy to see you. No matter how bad you feel or if it's your best or your worst day. Good looking with his cream - colored complexion and gentle mannerisms, he is there to comfort you. Sound like the perfect man? How about the perfect "man's best friend".
Kona is my nomination for the Therapy Animal Award. Kona provides canine care to many of our hospital wards, including Spinal Cord Injury Service (SCI), 4th Floor Hospice, Alcohol Drug Treatment Program (ADTP) and Psychiatry, to name a few.
Kona's handler, Sue S., a Navy and retired Air Force veteran's daughter, came to our facility 2 ½ years ago with Kona to join our Love on a Leash (LOL) Pet Therapy group as a trainee. Since that time she has taken over the VA San Diego program as the lead Pet Therapy handler, coordinating the LOL team on Mondays and Fridays. LOL provides Pet Therapy to SCI, Rehab Medicine Recreation Therapy Craft Clinic, and the hospital clinical waiting rooms on the first floor.
Sue was later approached by William M. to trial visiting Hospice patients on the 4th floor. She quickly agreed, although she was not sure how Kona would respond to this population. During the first visit Kona shined - providing canine warmth and caring that no human could offer. Kona and Sue now have added both ADTP and Psychiatry to their visits and the response has been just as positive.
Sue and Kona's dedication is now recognized through LOL as Sue was selected for the position of President for the LOL San Diego Central Chapter. Her duties as President are to coordinate city-wide visits to facilities in need of canine healing. I believe Kona and Sue best represent the Planetree commitment to offer Patient Centered Care to our ill, injured and wounded soldiers.
Thank you Kelli, for your glowing essay about us both. Our paws and fingers are crossed- and whether we win or not, it is truly an honor to be nominated!