Meet the Pets Lending Paws
BREED: Leonberger Mix
BIO: Just out of puppyhood, Hondo has already been volunteering with Faithful Paws for four months. He enjoys bringing his infectious energy to hospital patients, family members and staff, as well as residents of assisted living facilities and rehabilitation centers. In his spare time, he loves going to the dog park and playing with his friends. He lives near the Galleria with Dell and Denise Bryant.
NAMES: Sophie and Emmalea
BREED: Shetland Sheepdogs
AGES: 9 and 13
BIOS: Sophie and Emmalea live with Debbie Benningfield and have been volunteering with Faithful Paws for a little over a year. Although they go everywhere together in their matching outfits, the adoptive sisters have vastly different personalities: Sophie is a happy-go-lucky type who loves to be around people, while Emmalea is known for being shy and sweet.
BREED: English Setter
BIO: A member of the Caring Critters team, Chloe has been volunteering at Texas Children’s Hospital for over five years. When she isn’t lending a floppy ear or a helping paw to patients and their families, she enjoys napping, chasing squirrels, and going on walks with her handler, Dave Brady.
BREED: Long-haired Dachshund Mix
BIO: As one of the newest members of the Caring Critters team, Maisy has already proven she’s a natural therapy dog through her playful spirit and calm demeanor. When she’s not volunteering at Texas Children’s Hospital, she enjoys chasing lizards, hiding her toys and playing fetch with her handler, Carol Parker.
BREED: Golden Retriever
BIO: Angel was born with only three legs and one eye. Despite her physical disabilities, she was a happy and obedient puppy, and has dedicated her life to helping others overcome their own handicaps and hardships—even throughout her recent battle with cancer. She lives with Trish Herrera, knows commands in both English and French, and loves to swim and watch television when she’s not volunteering with Faithful Paws. In July, she will be awarded a proclamation by the mayor’s office recognizing her work as a therapy dog, a first-of-its-kind accolade.
BREED: Border Collie Mix
BIO: Abandoned in a barn as a young puppy, Abby found her way to the home of local couple Christy and Stephen Almond when she was just three months old. She has been volunteering with Caring Critters for four years and especially loves visiting children at MD Anderson Children’s Cancer Hospital. Her above-average intelligence and boundless energy make her a favorite among patients and pups alike.
BREED: Miniature Poodle
BIO: Bailey has been volunteering with Caring Critters since 2004, and despite being an octogenarian in dog-years, she is as active as ever. She is passionate about helping patients achieve their rehabilitation goals, and frequents The University of Texas MD Anderson Cancer Center and TIRR Memorial Hermann with her handler, Joan Johnson.
BREED: Bouvier des Flandres
BIO: Eleven-year-old KC has the honor of fulfilling two important roles: for over seven years she has been a volunteer with Faithful Paws and also a hearing service dog for her owner, Carol Seliger. She enjoys her active lifestyle and especially loves seeing patients, running errands and flying to New York to visit extended family.
BREED: Basset Hound
BIO: Rescued as a puppy by Gail Edlund, Louie has been volunteering with Faithful Paws for four years. He loves treats and toilet paper, and is known for his gentle and affectionate demeanor. A few months ago, Louie lost his right eye to glaucoma. Although he is now struggling with the same diagnosis in his left, his spirits remain high and he enjoys the company of patients and their families now more than ever.
BIO: Born in West Virginia, Sparks spent the first two years of his life attached to a chain and severely neglected. He was finally rescued by Daniel McQuade and together they moved to sunny Texas three years ago. A member of the Caring Critters crew, he is a clever and playful dog who loves to entertain patients at Texas Children’s Hospital. His favorite food is sour apples.
BIO: Morgan has been volunteering with Caring Critters for nearly three years. He is extremely loving and affectionate by nature, and enjoys sitting with patients and their families while being petted. When he’s not at work, he likes to eat and sleep, but most of all he enjoys wrestling with his dog-brother, Harpo, a two-year-old standard poodle. He lives with Sandy Harris in Houston.
BREED: Miniature Schnauzer
BIO: Rescued from the SPCA by Kathleen Bouchillon, Snoopy has been volunteering with Caring Critters for six years. A fearless and spirited pup, he is a crowd favorite among staff and patients alike at MD Anderson Children’s Cancer Hospital. Editor’s Note: Sadly, Snoopy passed away before this issue went to print. He is deeply missed by his family, friends and the patients he so loved.
Mogie: Ronald McDonald House Houston’s Key Comfort Ambassador
When patients and their families arrive at Ronald McDonald House Houston—often exhausted from their travels and anxious about the treatments and procedures ahead—they are frequently greeted at the door by a wagging tail and a few happy, sloppy kisses from Mogie, the House’s Key Comfort Ambassador.
“Mogie loves his job at RMH,” said Leslie Bourne, chief executive officer of Ronald McDonald House Houston. “He takes the business of play very seriously.”
The five-year-old Labradoodle was trained specifically for his job as Key Comfort Ambassador, but is by no means qualified as a certified therapy pet— in fact, that’s part of what makes him so ideal for a setting like Ronald McDonald House Houston.
“Therapy dogs are taught to be very calm in the hospital or work environment, and Mogie is anything but that,” Bourne explained. “He loves tennis balls and will play fetch all day long—something trained therapy dogs are not allowed to do at work. But his infectious energy and playful spirit actually provide the kind of therapy our families and kids need the most during their stay at the House.”
In addition to greeting new families and playing fetch, Mogie also loves to take naps with children, watch TV, and cuddle with anyone who is feeling sick or scared. He enjoys meeting kids from all over the world who come to the Texas Medical Center for treatment, and he especially likes learning new languages and hearing about different cultures and backgrounds. One of his personal passions is promoting the mission of Ronald McDonald House Houston, and he has visited local libraries and schools to help support its programs. He believes strongly in the power of literacy and is even the star of his very own children’s book titled, “Mogie: Heart of the House,” which tells the true story of a free-spirited puppy destined to change the lives of the people around him through his positive attitude and unwavering compassion.
Photos by Robyn Arouty