Volunteer Spotlight - Therapy Dog Team

Let’s meet some of our newest WSHS volunteers - our new Pet Therapy Teams!

Susan Scordato and Karma

Susan always thought it would be amazing to be able to volunteer with her dog, so she became a registered therapy team with her Siberian husky, Karma. One of Karma’s first therapy jobs was at Elmhurst Hospital.  During his first visit, he put his head on the lap of a crying, 80-year-old woman and soon she was smiling from ear to ear.  Karma has worked with developmentally and emotionally challenged children, with Advocate’s hospice, and has been a staple since the Elmhurst library started its READ program. Susan begins her work for WSHS by visiting a senior facility in Elmhurst that supports Alzheimer patients.

Gail Diedrichsen and Brody

After retiring from classroom teaching Gail experienced a health scare requiring a brief hospital stay. Gail admits, “My pity party ended the day I heard a knock at my hospital room’s door. In poked a volunteer’s head to ask  me if I would like a visit from her therapy dog. After that experience, I knew exactly how I would pay it forward once I got the heck out of there!” Keeping her promise, she adopted Brody from Collie Rescue of Greater Illinois. “Brody shines when visiting classrooms, libraries, and nursing homes.  He especially loves high school and college kids. He’s been busy spreading his love for almost 6 years.” Gail explains.

Dianne Ruprich and Buddy

Dianne and Buddy are new to pet therapy, finishing their training and evaluation in 2017. Buddy had been a working dog, but at the age of 10 years started his new career as a Pet Partner. Dianne says,” As I was in recovery from back surgery, therapy animals visited the rehab center and I knew I wanted to bring joy to other people as these animals did for me.”  Already visiting an adult day care, she contacted West Suburban Humane Society asking what she could do for us as a therapy team. She now also visits an assisted living center, and provided stress relief at College of DuPage during exam week. “Buddy and I are both enjoying our new career!”