Pet Therapy

Wagging tails bring smiles and comfort

Our four-legged team members are true miracles with paws as they visit patients at our hospitals.

Therapy Dog Program

Katherine D., a past patient tells her story:

When I was in a car wreck, the pain was unlike anything I'd ever experienced; I was in complete agony. I was taken to an Ascension Southeast Michigan ER. My husband and co-worker were in the room with me, and I was in terrible pain and could not stop crying. They saw someone in the hall with a Black Lab. I love dogs, so he was brought into my room. Because of my injuries, I couldn't turn my head to look at him. But the instant I put my hand on that dog's head, I smiled for the first time since the wreck. I will never forget that moment—I felt so good and happy. My husband and I have two Labs of our own; if I couldn't have them next to me, this was definitely the next best thing. That dog was only there a few minutes, but I will love him forever. I'm very glad that Ascension Providence realizes how beneficial it is to have dogs available. Thank you.

Man’s best friends bring comfort, smiles and a calming effect as they spend their days visiting patients, greeting visitors and associates, and attending events. Specially trained by Paradise Dog Training, these therapy dogs have extensive socialization skills and are very calm. Our canine colleagues are cared for by volunteer dog handlers, work weekday hours and spend non-working time living with host families as regular dogs.

Donations enable our therapy dogs to be on-site at the hospitals to bring cheer to those they visit; no operational dollars are spent on this program. We are grateful for the individual donations received along with a grant from Consumers Energy Foundation and the complimentary veterinary services and pet supplies that have made this program possible. Among those giving their time, services and goods are: Animal Crackers Pet Salon, Brighton Animal Hospital, Bryce Denison Photography/Midwest Photography Workshops, Fuzzy Friends Grooming, Dr. Michael Hermesmeyer, Oakland Veterinary Referral Services, Paradise Dog Training, Pet Supplies Plus, Plaza Veterinary Hospital, This-n-That for Pets Grooming and Thomson Animal Clinic.

To support the spirit-boosting pooches, please contact Heidi Crisman at 248-465-4511 or donate online today.


Team Member

Ascension Providence Hospital, Novi Campus

DOC: Black Labrador Retriever, birth date: 7/7/2013

Ascension Providence Hospital, Southfield Campus

Wilbur: Golden Retriever, birth date: 4/19/2008

Clyde: Chocolate Labrador Retriever, birth date: 7/6/2014

Ascension St. John Hospital

Hope: Yellow Labrador Retriever, birth date: 5/23/2009

Paxton: Yellow Labrador Retriever, birth date: 12/14/2015

Ascension River District Hospital Murphy: Golden Retriever, birth date: 10/23/2010
Ascension Macomb-Oakland Hospital, Warren & Madison Heights John: Golden Retriever, birth date: 2/28/2017
Ascension Brighton Center for Recovery Chilly: Golden Retriever, birth date: 4/24/2014

 Past Team Members

Hoover: Black Labrador Retriever; birth date: 2/4/2012; retired Feb. 2019
Quinn: Golden Retriever; birth year: 2010, death year: 2019
Parker: Black Labrador Retriever; birth year: 2006, death year: 2019
Lilly: Golden Retriever; birth year: 2011, death year: 2018