At this inaugural event, the special guests’ attire was top dog. The passed appetizers were a howling success. Tails were wagging as about a dozen therapy dogs involved in the Prescription Pet Program (PPP) at Children’s Hospital Colorado basked in well-deserved attention and praise. On Monday, Sept. 15, about 100 supporters got together at Kuni Lexus of Greenwood Village to celebrate the good works and goodwill of Children’s canine companions at Wags and Wine, a new-puppy-on-the-block event. It’s destined to become a “save the date” favorite.

Ollie prepares to do a trick for his treat, under owner Beth Ronsick's watchful eye.

Ollie prepares to do a trick for his treat, under owner Beth Ronsick’s watchful eye.

During the reception, Biscuits & Berries servers circulated with passed appetizers for two-legged guests, while four-legged friends enjoyed treats from Chewy’s Bonetique. Owner Julie Neva made the rounds, feeding each dog individually, and in true VIP style she made sure that each mouth was carefully wiped clean after the morsel was wolfed down. Well-behaved canines enjoyed lots of pats on the heads and rewarded guests with adorable looks and a few doggy tricks.

There was a serious side to the event as well, as PPP owners talked during the reception about inspiring experiences between Children’s patients and their dogs. During a short program, Association of Volunteers (AOV) board chair Robyn Roggensack, also a PPP participant, welcomed guests. AOV director Kathleen McBride spoke briefly and introduced consulting veterinarian Sara Mark, DVM. Mark described the goals of the program and told guests about her own poignant PPP experience. Door prizes were awarded to happy recipients, and tireless volunteer Lyn Schaffer was recognized her work on the event. “I think people had more fun because this wasn’t a fundraiser,” she said.

 

Emily Bauer with Yeti

Emily Bauer with Yeti

Created in 1984, the mission of the Prescription Pet Program at Children’s Hospital Colorado is to promote visitation by the canine members of the Prescription Pet Program Chapter and their masters in order to enhance the hospital experience for patients and their families. PPP partners with the Denver Area Veterinarian Society (DAVS), whose vets volunteer to assist with canine evaluations designed to meet the standards of animal-assisted therapy. Approximately 60 percent of dogs screened are admitted to the program. Dogs are continually monitored and screening procedures are updated to ensure protection of patients, families and staff.

Currently there are about active 25 dog-owner teams, and the group is constantly on the lookout for new members. Dogs must be between 2 and 9 years old, well trained and highly adaptable. From initial screening to completion of training can be a time period of four or five months. For more information, please visit http://www.childrenscolorado.org/donate-volunteer/volunteer/prescription-pets.