A little over six years ago, Sandra Szopinski caught a segment on the news featuring Roswell Park's first therapy dog, Monte. At the time, Sandra's eight-year-old golden doodle, Rorie, had already passed therapy dog testing. After seeing the news report, Sandra instantly felt compelled to call Roswell Park to find out more about our Pet Therapy Program. Soon after her call to our Volunteer Services Office, which coordinates the Pet Therapy visits, Sandra and Rorie began their journey of volunteering as Roswell Park's second-ever therapy dog.
One day when Sandra and Rorie were making their rounds, they spotted a lady who had a rather lost and distressed look on her face as she was pacing about. Sandra thought to herself that they probably shouldn’t bother her, but Rorie pulled her toward the lady as soon as she saw her. Rorie sat down right next to the lady and this small, but profound, gesture immediately comforted the lady. This was just what she needed at the time; she had been waiting for her daughter who was in surgery. She told Sandra that she was so thankful for Rorie’s thoughtful visit.
"I've had several people come up to me and say that they met Rorie the first time they were here when they were really nervous and that it made their day go easier,” said Sandra. Rorie’s "fan club," as Sandra calls it, keeps growing and growing with every visit.
Read more stories about our Pet Therapy Dogs on our Canine Caregivers Pinterest Board!