April 2022 eNews

Facility Dog Olaf knows 45 commands to help Child Life Specialist Kristen Bishop in her work with young patients at Mary Bridge Children’s Hospital in Tacoma, Washington. Olaf excels at using skills, like tugging and pushing, to interact with children by “playing games” that are actually integral to therapeutic goals. Kristen shares, “Helping kids be successful in their medical care is my job as a child life specialist, and Olaf really enhances what I’m able to do.” She adds, “There’s a magic about Olaf. He motivates our patients in a way that humans aren’t capable of.”

Congratulations to Kathy Zastrow! Kathy has dedicated nearly 30 years of her life to the mission of Canine Companions, devoting countless hours as a puppy raiser, breeder caretaker, founding chapter member, fundraiser, event organizer and presenter. She is currently serving her 16th year on the Northwest Region board, raising her 28th puppy and caring for her third breeder dog, Albert.

The puppy raising program at Montana’s Crossroads Correctional Facility is changing the outcomes of our inmate handlers’ lives. The national rate of recidivism is 50% – but 95% of the men who have been part of the puppy raising program have stayed out of prison after parole. There are currently 10 facilities raising puppies for Canine Companions.

Growing up with cerebral palsy, Hilary often had to rely on her parents. But like any teenager, she longed for autonomy and greater independence. She found that and more with her first service dog, Hudson. Over the years, she has had three Canine Companions service dogs by her side and credits each of them with a unique purpose in her life. “My service dogs have helped me realize who I am as a person,” she says.

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