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updated: 8/23/2013 11:51 AM

Pet Day at Greek American

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  • Pancake is a Transitions Hospice Pet Volunteer.

    Pancake is a Transitions Hospice Pet Volunteer.
    Trish Thein

Trish Thein

(Wheeling, Illinois, August 22, 2013) -- Greek American Rehabilitation and Care Centre is hosting a pet day in recognition of International Assistance Dog Week on August 26, 2013 at 10:00 a.m. International Assistance Dog week, August 4-10, was created to recognize the devoted, hardworking assistance dogs that help disabled individuals.

Transitions Hospice deploys loving dogs to visit their hospice patients. These dogs vary in breed, size and temperament. Some offer a sense of peace and calm while others are bursting with energy - eliciting laughs and giggles from patients that are usually withdrawn. "We've seen the most amazing reactions from our patients in response to their Pet Volunteer!" said Trish Thein, Volunteer Coordinator. "One lady, a patient with advanced dementia that rarely speaks, laughed and called out "He's cute, he's cute" when introduced to Pet Volunteer, Chester." Chester is small mixed breed rescued by hospice volunteer, Katie. Katie found Chester in the woods of Croatia. She doesn't know much about his past, but she does know that he is calm and gentle soul. Chester visits hospice patients in Des Plaines.

Cassie, another Pet Volunteer, is a long and lean terrier mix that always seems to know the right thing to do. She gently places her head on the lap or at the feet of her patients. She doesn't ask anything of them in return. Cassie seems to instinctively know that her job is to provide comfort and that is exactly what she does for hospice patients in Buffalo Grove.

Visiting hospice patients at Greek American Rehabilitation and Care Centre is Pancake. Pancake is a golden brown Carin Terrier. He's escorted by hospice volunteer Amanda and together they brighten lots of spirits. He makes his rounds checking that anyone interested in petting gets an opportunity. Pancake's favorite patient is a quadriplegic whom he snuggles in bed with during his visits.

All of the Transitions Hospice Pet Volunteers are escorted by their handlers, trained hospice volunteers. Their pets must be up to date on their rabies vaccine and pass a temperament assessment provided by the hospice staff, but they do not need any other special certifications. "Lots of people have really great dogs that they want to share with others. We try to make it easy for them to do that." says Sue Pacton, Director of Operations at Transitions Hospice.

Come to the Pet Day at Greek American Rehabilitation and Care Centre on August 26th at 10:00 a.m. to meet some of the Transitions Hospice Pet Volunteers. The address is 220 North First Street in Wheeling. For more information about this topic or to schedule an interview, please contact Trish Thein at 847-515-1505 or email

About Transitions Hospice

Transitions Hospice is a local hospice agency providing end of life care to hospice patients in 17 counties throughout northeastern Illinois. Our philosophy is to empower our loved ones and families by providing the tools and support necessary to embrace life. Our job is to assist families and their loved ones through the physical, emotional and spiritual challenges of life's final transitions. Visit our website at or call toll-free at 877-726-6494.