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January 16, 2019

Wellesley resident volunteering for pet therapy program
Wellesley Townsman


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Pet therapy visits have been offered as part of Care Dimensions’ Complementary Therapies program since 2010 and volunteers have provided more than 500 visits in 2018.

In response to the growing demand from patients, Care Dimensions, which provides services in Wellesley and 95 other communities in Massachusetts, is recruiting new pet therapy volunteers and recently launched a pet visitor program.

Volunteers include Wellesley resident Johanna Grad, 81, who is a retired physician. She and her 11-year old dog Emma visit with hospice patients several hours each week. Emma has been a certified therapy dog for nine years.

“Once I placed Emma on the bed beside a patient who had advanced dementia and trouble speaking,” Grad said. “All of a sudden, he stated, ‘You’ve brought me a dog.’ This was the first complete sentence the man had spoken in over two years.”

Emma and Grad travel to Needham, Westwood and the surrounding towns, including the new Care Dimensions Hospice House in Lincoln.

Care Dimensions is always looking for new pet therapy teams to join their Complementary Therapy Program. Volunteers and their dogs visit hospice patients wherever they call home — nursing homes, assisted living facilities, private homes and or the Care Dimensions Hospice House in Lincoln. Pet therapy visits are flexible and the volunteer can choose their hours and locations.

For information, contact Jane Corrigan, senior volunteer coordinator, at 781-373-6574 or email at JCorrigan@CareDimensions.org.


Since 1978, Care Dimensions has provided comprehensive and compassionate care for individuals and families dealing with life-threatening illnesses. As the non-profit leader in advanced illness care, we offer services in more than 90 communities in Eastern Massachusetts.