Pet Volunteers (and their humans) Celebrated at UPMC Hillman Cancer Center

While human volunteers are appreciated at UPMC Hillman Cancer Center, it's the furry canine volunteers that truly leave a mark on patients and staff members.

It's a special day for volunteers at the UPMC Hillman Cancer Center and not just the two-legged variety. The center's staff set aside time for the pets and their owners who visit the campus and help both patients and staff get through tough times.

The Annual Pet Therapy Appreciation Day was especially sweet for Amy Bischoff and her Newfoundland "Olive" (Pictured above). Today they received the "Silver Paw" commemorating 5 years of service.

Olive Bischoff is recognized for 5 years of service with patients and staff at UPMC along with her owner, Amy Bischoff

I talked to Amy about receiving the award and the experience volunteering. She says she looks forward to their weekly visits almost as much as the patients and staff:

Amber Miller is UPMC Hillman Cancer Center's Director of Volunteer and Guest services. She tells me the program started in 2012 with one pet therapy team. Today that number has grown to 25 pets and their humans.

It was one number higher before today's ceremony where they recognized "DiDi" for her nearly 7 years of service. Nancy Olson talked to me about DiDi's history and her personal connection to Hillman:

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