Portland, ME (August 2006) - The Planet Dog Foundation (PDF) is proud to announce a $2,500 grant to the Maine Children's Cancer Program (MCCP) to support their new pet-therapy program. Daisy, a multi-generational Australian Labradoodle, is undergoing training to become a certified therapy dog for their program. She will spend her days visiting with children undergoing treatment at MCCP’s outpatient clinic in Scarborough. This unique pet-therapy program is the first to have a full-time working dog in an outpatient oncology clinic.
Located in Maine Medical Center’s outpatient cancer center in Scarborough, MCCP offers outpatient consultation and treatment for children diagnosed with cancer and blood disorders. A staff of pediatric hematology-oncology physicians, nurses, social workers, and research associates provide a coordinated program of medical care, clinical research and psycho-social support. The mission of the program is not only to cure cancer in the children they treat, but to support the children and their families through the stressful journey of living with childhood cancer and blood disorders.
“The average course of treatment for childhood cancer is two years” says Debra Matson, MCCP's Program Administrator. “During that time, it is not uncommon for a child to spend hours each week receiving chemotherapy in our outpatient clinic. We believe that Daisy will give these children something to look forward to during those weekly visits for treatment". Daisy has already increased the general well-being among staff by encouraging daily walks outside and through relaxing petting sessions. “Daisy also happens to be a comedian and given the nature of the work we do, the laughter she brings us each day has been an unexpected bonus” adds Debra.
MCCP will collect data and conduct routine surveys to document Daisy's effect on patients and staff in hopes of sharing their experiences with other pediatric hematology-oncology centers. To learn more about the program, please visit www.mmc.org or call 207-885-7565.
Along with support from the Jessie Fund, the PDF grant will help fund Daisy's training, certification, food, grooming and vet care. In addition to the grant, Planet Dog has given Daisy an employee discount at the Planet Dog Company Store in Portland.
"We are inspired by the amazing way that dogs like Daisy provide so much selfless comfort to people in need," says Kristen Smith, the Executive Director of PDF, Planet Dog's non-profit "paw". "We are proud to support initiatives like this that bring people and dogs together for mutual support," adds Smith.
Planet Dog is a socially responsible designer and retailer of award-winning products for dogs. A percentage of every Planet Dog purchase goes directly to PDF to support the grantmaking program. The mission of the PDF is to promote and celebrate programs in which dogs serve and support their best friends. To learn more about Planet Dog and the Planet Dog Foundation, please visit www.planetdog.com and www.planetdogfoundation.org.