The most accepted terms for this field are Animal-Assisted Therapy (AAT) and Animal-Assisted Activities (AAA). AAT involves
working with someone when a specific goal has been identified. If you do this as a
volunteer, you will work with a professional who will assist you in selecting goals for
different individuals. AAA are those activities designed to strengthen someone's quality
of life. Usually performed by volunteers, they are generally "meet and greet"
Meet Golden Maggie (with Sadie on the Horizon)
We were quite taken by the story of Maggie, so
beautifully detailed in several 2006 news articles. So, we
asked her human companion,
Mike Kewley, founder of
if he would share her story here at our wondrous Land of
PureGold. Here is that tale.
My name is Michael Kewley and I’m the owner of a 10-year-old
Golden named Maggie whose birthday happened to be
(a week ago) on February 27, 2007. This photo is from Maggie's
birthday party. She's accompanied here by her Golden puppy
sister, Sadie, who is more than happy to share in the
We actually stopped by UMass Memorial Children’s Medical
Center on the 27th for Maggie’s birthday, and Dr. Felice,
the Chair and Professor of Pediatrics, gave this purse to her
even more gifts from other staff members. Maggie made their
day playing with all of the stuffed toy presents.
I would like to share my story about
Maggie with you. Maggie was a little fluff ball at nine-weeks-old when I got her and like all Golden’s they have
those big brown eyes that melt you. It’s hard not to fall in
love with them. She would roll over on her side and love to
have her belly rubbed and loved to cuddle close to you.
Maggie was your normal puppy with all of the energy and
loved to play with everyone.
Maggie had some big shoes to full from my fifteen-year-old
Collie and Lab mix named Jane who I had to put down a few
months earlier. Any pet owner knows how hard this is to do
because they are so much apart of your life and the family.
As she got older Maggie starting showing signs of being very
easy to train and was following in Jane’s foot steps. Maggie
loved being around people and had her way of getting your
attention and I started her on voice commands then moved to
hand signs and still at times remind me she was still a
puppy. It was like she was trying to say “ok, can we play
Here is a picture of Maggie at six months old with a stray
wild kitten that I was feeding in the backyard. From this
point on I knew she was special and she thought every animal
was her friend. I was feeding the kitten for days and tried
so hard to get close to her but had no luck. Then one day I
looked out on the deck and there they were like out time
buddy’s having a great time playing. That’s when I knew
Maggie had some special qualities and could work her magic
even with a wild kitten.
Animals play a very special role in our life and help us in
many ways. They give us unconditional love and don’t judge
us by the things we have done and will lift the spirits of
everyone young or old. I do believe they are emphatic and
Maggie has always amazed me by her actions and effects she
has on everyone she meets. The part that always amazed me
was here she is a Golden Retriever and acts like a cat when
it comes to water. I tried but there was now way she wanted
any part of it. What she enjoyed more then ever was every
winter playing in the snow. She would be like a deer leaping
up in the air having a great time and wanted you to make
snowballs and throw them so she could get retrieve them.
When we go to visit her Uncle Jim there are treats sitting
on the end shelves of their kitchen island and she usually
gets a treat from Jim. I was in the family room visiting
with Jim and my sister Cheryl and Maggie was in the kitchen
at the time. She was waiting for her treat and this is how
she would surprise you. Here she comes down the hall
carrying the plastic container and placed it down next to
Jim’s feet and let’s out a bark. She is really too much
sometimes and their other two dogs followed behind her.
As time went on Maggie kept surprising me and the bond
between us was growing. Maggie would have made a great
service dog for some one with disabilities but she had the
qualities and the personality to become a special therapy
It was in the spring of 2004, Dr. Morana Maggie’s Vet at
Community Animal Hospital was talking to me about dog
therapy work with Maggie. She knew Maggie was special and
what she would be able to accomplish doing that type of
work. She contacted Susan Kidder and called me back later on
in the day with her phone number. Maggie was certified in
2004 with Therapy Dogs International and has her
the AKC and that started Shrewsbury Paws in November of
2004. I have to give credit to Harry Anderson and Susan
Kidder for explaining to me the benefits of dog therapy work
from their own experiences and played an important role in
the work we do.
We started our visits and the feeling was over whelming for
me and to see the difference we were making with patients
and residents, not to mention the staff that was also
benefiting for it all. It’s an experience every handler gets
and we have to thank all of them for volunteering their time
to help others. There are so many positive
stories we all
can tell about the people we have visited with from young
kids to seniors. My goal was to make people a where of the
benefits pet therapy work has on our life. Maggie has
exceeded my expectations with all of the work or magic she
has done over the last two years. Some people have called
her an “Angel”.
Maggie visited close to 3,500 people and also visited 350
kids in one year at the UMass Memorial Children’s Medical
Center in Worcester. She has access to the pediatrics ICU
units also. The staff at the hospital had a party for Maggie
on her one year anniversary in August of 2006.
It was then during the summer of 2006 when Maggie started to show
signs that something was wrong. The end of her nose was
swollen and the growth that I noted at the time was growing fast. It was
about half the size of a golf ball. Maggie was subsequently diagnosed
with mast cell cancer in August and would be fighting for
her life with an unpredictable, aggressive type of cancer. I
was devastated by the news and there is no way you can
prepare yourself for it.
Maggie has been by my side all her life and the thought of
loosing my companion were sinking in. Dr. Gauthier, an
oncology resident at Tuft’s Cummings School of Veterinary
Medicine was going to be treating Maggie. Not only was she
fighting with cancer, in September she had to have surgery
to remove a hyper active thyroid that was causing her
calcium levels to be at a dangerous level.
She had many treatments and there were some side effects
from the chemo and steroids injections that weaken her
system. We stopped the treatments in mid October and once
she started to show signs of getting better I started her on
all natural supplements and changed her diet. I kept an open
mind to other alternative treatments and try to keep a
positive attitude and no try in think to far in the future.
Everyday with Maggie is a bonus now and quality of life
means a lot to me for her. I will do everything I can to
make her comfortable through this.
In September I adopted a Golden Retriever puppy named Sadie
who has been a big help with Maggie and they have bonded
very quickly as you can see. Maggie is playing a role in
training her with the hope of doing some visits together in
the future. Sadie will carry on Maggie’s legacy of helping
people. Maggie was getting stronger everyday.
Maggie started back doing visits in the beginning of
December and we look forward to see everyone again. The best
news I received was in February of 2007 after her visit to
Tuft’s for her exam. The tumor in Maggie’s nose appears
pretty much gone. She is truly an Angel and is getting
better everyday. All of the emails expressing their prayer’s
and support and all of the love she received was paying off.
Maggie has helped so many people and it was her time. She is
spending time playing with Sadie and we are enjoying her
company everyday as well as others. Dr. Felice the Chair and
Professor of Pediatrics explained it best “Mike you share
the love you have with Maggie with all of us”.
Shrewsbury Paws ‘We are here to make you smile”
Golden Therapy Message and Photo Updates
August 24, 2007
Here are some current photos of the girls.
Maggie and Sadie
August 21, 2007 (from Mike Kewley):
I thought I would give you an update on Maggie. It has been
over a year now since Maggie was diagnosed with cancer and
she has been doing awesome. She is still taking natural
supplements and she has meat everyday. I try in keep her on
a holistic type diet. We were at Tuft’s to visit everyone
in the oncology department and the first thing they went for
was her nose. They are still amazed with Maggie and how she
Maggie and Sadie who is one year old now play all the time
and spend time cuddled up next to each other. Of Course
Maggie still gets her sun bathing time in on the deck.
May 2, 2007 (from Mike Kewley):
I thought I would give you an update on Maggie. She is
doing great and she lost the 10 pounds the steroids put on
her. She has been acting like a puppy with Sadie. I am
enjoying everyday with her and the same for everyone we
visit. The segment producer from FOX25 News in Boston was
with us last week at the hospital. She emailed me that night
and told me how much she enjoyed the visits with us and the
kids. They might do a special story on Maggie this year.
Sadie is seven months old now and she knows all of the hand
signs and has been doing real good with the training. Of
course, she still needs to have time for her playful puppy
stage. You know those sudden burst of energy. The breeder is
going to donate a female Golden next month. How can I say
June 2009 (from Mike Kewley):
I’m writing this with a very heavy heart. On June 7,
2009 at 9:00am, Maggie passed away in my arms as I was
taking her to the vet in the back seat of my truck. My
brother-in-law Jim was there to drive me and help support me
at a time that was one of the most difficult in my life. I’m
heartbroken and sad losing my companion.
What she has accomplished in her life was amazing and
being there to share that love with everyone. It was a
miracle we made it to twelve in February after beating mast
cell cancer in 2006. She was blind now for awhile and it’s
been over a year I have been carrying her up and down
stairs. The last two days were tough, and she was getting
weaker, but she was comfortable. This is the most difficult
thing for me to watch her like this.
Sadie’s been a blessing and she will miss her partner. Sadie
will be certified and will carry on Maggie’s legacy to help
My little girl will be missed but never forgotten. The
most important thing was to keep her as comfortable as
possible and be there for her. She is my ANGEL with four
legs and showed everyone the benefits of pet therapy and all
of the positive effects the program has made. Thank you for
your emails and the memories we have shared with everyone.
Golden Therapy Media Updates
The Boston Globe and Worcester Telegram & Gazette newspapers have
been following Maggie from December 2005, their
touching and well-written articles
provided below. You also do not want to miss the following
two incredible slide show presentations
Boston Globe: The story of Maggie
Paws Video-Photo Show of Maggie
Rx take four PAWS and call me in the morning
Pet therapy dogs bring smiles to children at
UMass Medical Center
By Elizabeth Cooney, Telegram & Gazette
Staff, Photos by Steve Lanava, December 26, 2005
Maggie, a pet
therapy “reindeer,” cheers up Eric
Luu, 5, of Worcester at the
pediatrics ward of UMass Memorial
Hospital’s University Campus. Eric
is recovering from a leg injury.
Maggie, Michael Kewley’s 8-year-old golden
retriever, was resting at his feet in the new
lobby of UMass Memorial Medical
Center—University Campus. Revolving doors
whirred in patients and visitors who smiled as
they stopped to get their bearings and spotted
the honey-colored dog with the green leash and a
“Pet Therapy Dog” tag dangling from her collar.
Her eyes were closed and her jaw was resting on
her front paws until Mr. Kewley whispered her
“Want to go see the kids?”
Her brown eyes opened, her head rose, and her
nails skittered on the floor as she wagged her
whole body into alertness to gaze up at him.
It was time to visit the pediatrics floor, where
pet visits to inpatients have been offered on
Wednesday afternoons since August.
|I saw a dog in the
hospital before. Clifford, in
‘Clifford to the Rescue.’
5-YEAR-OLD PATIENT IN THE
“She knows. She’s like a greyhound at the gate,”
Mr. Kewley said. “She’s ready to go.”
Bringing animals to visit hospital patients or
nursing home residents is becoming more common
as research on its calming effects has begun to
buttress what pet owners know instinctively:
Animals can make us feel good.
Michael Kewley introduces his dog, Maggie, to
7-month-old Lilly Swallow of Worcester in the
pediatrics ward as her mother, Amy, holds her,
and her brother, Andrew, watches. Lily has
Heart failure patients’ levels of a stress
hormone dipped after a session spent with a dog,
a small study at the University of California
Los Angeles Medical Center reported last month.
Just having a dog nearby helped children during
routine examinations by a nurse practitioner,
research from the University of Texas-Houston
Health Science Center found. Alzheimer’s
patients are less agitated when dogs are
present, according to a work done at the
University of Nebraska Medical Center College of
Pet visitation won approval at UMass Memorial
after a two-year process of proposals, pilots
and protocols. Mr. Kewley and fellow volunteer
Susan Kidder gained certification for themselves
and their dogs from Therapy Dogs International
before visiting University Commons and other
nursing homes and assisted living residences in
Massachusetts. Dogs are tested for health,
checked for up-to-date vaccinations and
evaluated for temperament and obedience.
Mr. Kewley founded the all-volunteer Shrewsbury
Paws for Patients after retiring from a career
in computer technology. He was a volunteer
greeter at Worcester Medical Center, but found
his work with Maggie more rewarding. Students
from Cummings School of Veterinary Medicine at
Tufts University, Worcester State College and
UMass Graduate School of Nursing joined him and
Ms. Kidder in bringing their pets to nursing
“For older people it means happy memories if
they had dogs,” said Ms. Kidder, who moved to
Wisconsin last month but had scheduled a pet
therapy appointment there with her dog, Deena,
four weeks to the day from her arrival.
For children, sometimes it means blessed
distraction, whether they need to be in the
hospital overnight or over the course of weeks.
Visits with Maggie are arranged through the
Child Life program. A Child Life specialist
comes along on the visit, which is screened with
the medical staff to be sure it is appropriate.
While no cases of dogs transmitting disease to
patients have been documented, the possibility
of one child’s cold, for example, being passed
on to the next child to pat the dog was enough
to curtail Maggie’s visiting list in November.
As Maggie and Mr. Kewley made their way to the
fifth floor pediatrics ward that day, smiles
rippled from person to person on the way to the
elevator. Before he could bring Maggie to the
kids, they first had to get through the nurses’
station, the crowded command post for up to 46
patients, who range from several weeks to 18
“If I was a patient, I’d love to have a dog come
to see me,” said Kathy Brule, a nurse clinician.
Parents like it, too.
“Anything is appreciated,” said Lisa Cameron of
Leominster, whose 6-year-old son, Taylor, comes
frequently for leukemia treatment. “Anything to
distract him from the reality of what he’s going
through, to keep him happy, is good.”
Dressed in a Spiderman sweatshirt, Taylor patted
Maggie as he headed to the playroom with his IV
pole in tow. He had watched from the window as
Mr. Kewley brought Maggie into the hospital from
the parking lot, Child Life Specialist Laurie
For 7-month-old Lily Swallow, Maggie’s visit was
her first time being with a dog, her mother, Amy
Swallow of Worcester, said. Lily cooed and
curled her fingers around wisps of Maggie’s fur
while Mr. Kewley knelt beside them in the
“She likes hair,” her mother said while she
handed toys to Lily’s brothers Ryan and Andrew,
who come after school while their sister is in
the hospital. Lily has leukemia.
Eric Luu sat up straight in his bed when Maggie
approached in his room. The 5-year-old was
looking forward to going home soon to recover
from an injury to his leg, his father, Duong Luu,
of Worcester said. “It’s a good idea,” he said
about bringing a dog to visit children. “We used
to have a dog long ago.”
Eric was not surprised to see a dog in the
hospital, even when Maggie hopped onto his bed
once Eric and his father gave the go-ahead.
“I saw a dog in the hospital before. Clifford,
in ‘Clifford to the Rescue,’ ” he explained for
adults not up on the big red storybook hero.
“Clifford is big, like a giant.”
After a few minutes, Maggie hopped down,
jingling her dog tags and the bells on the
reindeer antlers she wore. Eric’s smile was
broad as the entourage left his room. Robert J.
Wing, director of the child life department,
checked his clipboard for the next appointment.
“Our goal is to help children and families cope
with hospitalization, to help normalize the
environment,” Mr. Wing said. “For anybody it is
a stressful environment, especially for kids,
who can’t understand what’s happening. Having a
pet here helps.”
Mr. Wing has experience with pet visits at
Schneider Children’s Hospital on Long Island and
Floating Hospital in Boston. He worked with Mr.
Kewley to win over doctors from the department
of infectious diseases as well as pediatrics.
“I am a fan of the program, if it is done
properly, and it is done properly here,” said
Dr. Marianne E. Felice, physician-in-chief of
UMass Memorial’s Children’s Medical Center. “You
can’t have a program if you don’t look at
concerns of safety, infection control, allergy,
Dr. Felice keeps dog treats in a jar on a low
shelf in her office. Maggie knows where they
“I’m a strong believer in animals. I think it’s
good for the child,” she said. “Look at our
staff and look at our faces when Maggie is
For more information about Shrewsbury Paws for
People, go to www.shrewsburypaws.com Two
national testing and certifying groups are
Therapy Dogs International Inc. at
and Delta Society Pet Partners Program at
The story of Maggie and Jay ─
Therapy dog and hospital's sickest
children share in cancer fight
By Megan Woolhouse, Photo by Bill Polo,
The Boston Globe, September 17, 2006
Ja'Kwan Davis got a visit from
Maggie at UMass Medical Center in
Dogs usually aren't allowed
into UMass Memorial Medical Center, and
especially not in the sterile environment of the
children's intensive-care unit.
But that rule does not apply to a golden
retriever named Maggie. Wearing her blue vest
and ID badge, she is a common sight, sitting
guard by the nurse's station or in the hall next
to 12-year-old cancer patient Jay Davis.
More than 350 children have gotten to know her
by name. But now Maggie is facing illness. Last
month, the retriever was diagnosed with a severe
form of cancer in her nose. And like Jay, and
many of her other young pals, she'll probably
need chemotherapy to save her life.
If the treatment doesn't work, Dr. Marianne E.
Felice, head of pediatrics at the Worcester
medical facility, wonders what her staff will
tell the children.
``I consider Maggie a member of our staff,"
Felice said. ``If we lost Maggie, it would be
Before Maggie, a dog had never set foot in the
hospital ─ at least not with permission.
The story of the 65-pound retriever's triumph
over bureaucracy began two years ago when her
owner, Mike Kewley, started a group for
volunteers interested in bringing their pets to
visit patients in local hospitals and nursing
homes. He called it Shrewsbury Paws.
Looking back recently, Kewley said his marriage
of 30 years had just ended and he thought
volunteering Maggie as a therapy dog would help
``It's therapy for me, too," said Kewley, 51.
``It helped fill a major void in my life."
He approached officials at UMass Memorial about
starting a dog therapy program. Some staffers
were leery, including Felice, and there was a
lot of red tape. But children's activities
director Rob Wing had seen similar programs in
other hospitals and wanted to try it.
``It's such a sterile environment," Wing said.
``There's a lot of equipment. One of the most
normal things for a kid is to play with and have
Three dogs, including Maggie, tried out for the
position. Felice eliminated one dog from the mix
because he was a drooler (unsanitary). The other
candidate moved away. Maggie, who rarely drools
or licks, was a perfect fit, Felice decided.
Maggie had already been certified by Therapy
Dogs International and knew how to follow
Kewley's hand commands. (A fist, for instance,
means stay.) Under the new hospital policy, she
had to be washed, combed, and clipped ─ a
90-minute process ─ before each visit. An
entourage of quality control and hospital safety
personnel followed her around on her first
visits with children.
But, like a favorite uncle, Maggie eventually
won everyone over with her gentle, come-what-may
manner. Now, at age 9 ─ senior-citizen status,
by dog standards ─ she's a bit creaky, her limbs
not what they used to be.
When they arrive at the hospital, Kewley lifts
Maggie out of the back seat of his truck and
tenderly puts her on the ground. Inside, she
pads the hallways, accepting pats from
passersby. She sprawls on the floor as staff
members rub her belly. She doesn't flinch when a
2-year-old tugs her ear.
While Maggie may seem to be just be another
pooch leading a dog's life, the medical
professionals say what she does is nothing short
Wing recalled watching Maggie meet a little girl
with cancer who hadn't spoken for weeks.
``She sat on the floor and patted the dog for 20
minutes and just babbled," he said. ``It was
such a dramatic shift."
Felice said she watched Maggie sit at the edge
of the bed of a young cancer patient. The girl
couldn't reach the dog, so Maggie jumped up onto
the bed to reach the girl.
It was a violation of policy, but Felice said
the staff decided to overlook it when the dog
put her head on the girl's lap.
``It appears to me that there are times when
this dog senses what a child needs," Felice
That seems to be the case for Jay Davis. He had
been in the hospital's intensive-care unit for
four months, diagnosed with an inoperable tumor
in his chest. Tubes ran from his nose and arm.
Medical monitors beeped steadily. Get-well cards
from friends lined his institutional dresser.
Sick children in nearby rooms watched visitors
come and go silently. This world is a place few
adults want to go.
Maggie met Ja'Kwan ─
that's Jay's full name ─ shortly after he
emerged from a coma. A nurse in the unit, Susan
Andres, thought he might like a visit from
Maggie. Jay's mother, Felicia Davis, said he
loved animals and once had a pet ferret.
``He always wanted a dog," Jay's mom said.
But the boy was still weak, lacking the strength
to talk or even open his eyes. Andres said she
would pick up his hand and stroke Maggie's silky
ear with it. Sometimes the dog, lying on a
stretcher next to Jay's bed, would gently rest
her head on top of his hand.
More recently, Jay met Maggie in the hallway of
the ICU. He struggled and eventually lifted his
hand to pet her.
``Three or four doctors and nurses with tears in
their eyes watched him," Andres said. ``It was
seeing how much effort it took for him to pet
her, but how much he wanted to. It's hard to
believe that one dog can make such a
It was late summer when Kewley first noticed
swelling and something that looked like a bee
sting below Maggie's nose. When the swelling
didn't go away, he brought her to the Tufts
veterinary hospital. After a battery of tests,
she was diagnosed with Stage 3 mast cell cancer,
an advanced form of the disease. Felice said
Kewley called her, sobbing, from the animal
Veterinarians at Tufts are treating Maggie with
steroids and hoping that the tumor will shrink
enough to be treated by chemotherapy. If not,
they may have to surgically remove as much as
half of her snout and some of her front teeth to
stop the skin cancer's spread.
Kewley said Maggie moves even more slowly these
days. But she continues to make visits to the
Andres told Jay about her illness. ``Maggie has
the same kind of bump you have," the nurse
recalled telling him. ``And she's getting
medication for her bump."
The boy couldn't respond ─ he remains unable to
talk. But he can open his eyes now. And last
week, staff wheeled him outside to take Maggie
for a walk.
Propped up in the gurney, feeding tubes
attached, Jay sat impassively as Andres put
Maggie's leash in one of his hands. On command,
Maggie began pulling him along. Then Jay did
something that surprised everyone: He reached
out for the leash with his other hand to hold
© Copyright 2006 Globe Newspaper Company
The story of Maggie and Jay
By Megan Woolhouse, Photo by Bill
Polo, The Boston Globe West Updates, December
What's happened to Maggie and Jay?
A Globe West story in September took a look at
Maggie the therapy dog and her visits to sick
children at UMass Memorial Medical Center in
Worcester. The children included Jay Davis, a
13-year-old boy in the intensive care unit who
has an inoperable form of cancer.
Felicia Davis, Maggie the dog, and
trainer Mike Kewley during a recent
The twist in the story was that Maggie had
developed cancer herself.
The latest word: Both Maggie and Jay are
recovering from chemotherapy to shrink their
Maggie's visits were suspended for three months
because of the treatment, but she returned to
the hospital a few weeks ago, in time to
celebrate Jay's birthday. She was moving a
little slower, but her tail was still wagging.
Jay has struggled with chemotherapy and has only
been able to spend one day out of intensive
care. While the average stay for a child in the
ICU is two days, Jay has been there six months.
During the visit, Jay rested on his bed
motionless after a chemo treatment. His eyelids
fluttered as he struggled to see the dog. Mike
Kewley, Maggie's owner, lifted Maggie onto the
bed next to him. Jay's mother, Felicia, guided
his hand to help him pet her.
A nurse noted that Jay's blood pressure and
heart rate dropped at the same time.
Felicia Davis said she doesn't know if her son
will ever live free of a ventilator, or be able
to walk or talk. She said she had little money
to buy him Christmas gifts.
"My son is a fighter," she said. "We just go up
Therapy dog back on the job
Worcester Telegram & Gazette Staff and
Betty Jenewin, January 8, 2007
Maggie the therapy
dog and her handler, Michael Kewley,
visit with Dot M. Nugent at Coleman
House last week.
Maggie’s back. After a bout
with cancer, the 9-year-old golden retriever is
again making her rounds as a therapy dog,
visiting children at UMass Memorial Medical
Center in Worcester and older people in nursing
homes in Northboro and Shrewsbury.
In September it didn’t look like that would be
possible. “It was like a 180-degree turn for
us,” said Michael Kewley, Maggie’s owner and
founder of the all-volunteer Shrewsbury Paws for
People. “Here we are, going to the hospital
trying to help children feel better. I never
expected her to be in the same situation.”
Just after Maggie was honored by the hospital
for visiting 350 children in her first year of
service, Mr. Kewley noticed an odd swelling on
the point of her nose. It was cancer, but it had
not spread to her lymph nodes.
Three months of treatment, including
chemotherapy, shrank the tumor. She suffered the
same troubling side effects humans do, leaving
her too weak for planned radiation. So far,
she’s doing well, her latest scans at Tufts’
veterinary hospital have shown. Donations have
helped pay for her care there.
On Dec. 6, her first day back as a therapy dog,
she visited 13-year-old Jay Davis, a cancer
patient receiving chemotherapy in the intensive
care unit at UMass Memorial. “She’s happy to be
back with the kids,” he said. “It makes all the
difference in the world.”
Now Maggie is strong enough for her typical
two-hour trips to UMass Memorial and stops at
Shrewsbury Crossing and Coleman House to bring
cheer to older adults. “I look at every day as a
gift now,” Mr. Kewley said last week. “I don’t
look too far into the future.”
Except, perhaps, for Sadie, the 5-month-old
golden retriever he is training to be a therapy
dog, with Maggie’s help. “What Maggie does,
Sadie does,” he said. “When I go to the
hospital, she’s the one leading the way onto the
© 2007 Worcester Telegram & Gazette Corp.
Old allies against cancer, Jay, Maggie gain
By Megan Woolhouse, The Boston Globe,
February 25, 2007
While waiting to
leave for work, Maggie took some
time to enjoy sitting in the sun by
Maggie, a golden retriever, worked as a therapy
dog visiting children at University of
Massachusetts Memorial Medical Center until she
was diagnosed last fall with cancer. To remove
it would have meant removing nearly her entire
snout. The news devastated her owner, hospital
staff, and the hospitalized children who had
come to expect her weekly visits. It
particularly affected a 13-year-old boy named
Jay also had an inoperable tumor, in his chest.
He has been living in the Worcester hospital's
pediatric intensive care unit since August. Both
boy and dog have been undergoing chemotherapy
and receiving steroids to help fight the growth
of cancerous cells. And despite many highs and
lows, both now appear to be doing better.
Maggie's veterinarian, Meredith Gauthier, says
the dog's tumor ─ nearly the size of a golf ball
last fall ─ "appears pretty much gone."
Gauthier, an oncology resident at the Tufts
Cummings School of Veterinary Medicine, said she
has not biopsied the area because the procedure
is pointless. If the tumor did not respond to
the chemotherapy, Maggie's future would have
The chemotherapy itself took a toll. Maggie
underwent the treatment for three weeks. She had
to be carried outside to relieve herself.
Veterinarians said additional radiation
treatment was not an option because the chemo
had already weakened her so much.
Michael Kewley, Maggie's owner, gave her
nutritional supplements and vitamins to help her
along. Kewley, who runs a therapy pet service,
Shrewsbury Paws for Patients, has adopted a
golden retriever puppy named Sadie and hopes to
train her to follow in Maggie's footsteps as a
comfort to hospital patients and the elderly.
Her recovery has stunned Kewley, who has
returned to the hospital with Maggie for visits.
Meanwhile, Jay has been in the intensive care
unit for more than seven months. Intense
chemotherapy treatment in December left him
unable to muster enough strength to open his
eyes. Today, he needs a ventilator to help him
breathe. But his mother, Felicia Davis, said he
is able to pull himself into a sitting position
in bed and feed himself.
The tumor is still there, in his upper abdomen,
and Davis said the good news is that it hasn't
grown. Jay also feels well enough to try to
speak and has attempted different words like
"hi" and "bye," mouthing them silently. "He
said, 'Maggie' yesterday," his mother said. "You
can't hear it, but you can see it in the way he
moves his lips."
For updates on Maggie's progress, visit
© Copyright 2007 Globe Newspaper Company
Therapy dog surviving cancer
By Lisa Kocian, The Boston Globe,
June 17, 2007
In this photo,
Maggie gets a bath
before visiting patients. (BILL
POLO/GLOBE STAFF/FILE 2006)
Maggie, the golden retriever who visits sick
children to cheer them up, has been back at work
with no sign of her own cancer for six months
According to her owner, Michael Kewley, the
founder of Shrewsbury Paws for Patients, Maggie
has been thriving on natural supplements after
being forced to stop chemotherapy last year
because she was too weak.
There is still no sign of the golf-ball sized
tumor that was on her snout, said Kewley, who
didn't expect the 10-year-old dog to survive the
holidays. "She's definitely an angel with four
legs," he said.
Maggie The Dog Fights Cancer, Continues Her Work
Ron Sanders Reporting, WBZ SHREWSBURY,
June 18, 2007
A therapy dog from Shrewsbury is back on the
job despite her own battle with cancer. Mike
Kewley says Maggie, who visits sick and
terminally ill children at UMass Memorial
Medical Center, as well as nursing home
patients, had to stop the visits because of a
mast cell tumor on her snout. "When I found out
she had cancer the very first time in August, I
called Dr. Marianne Felice at the hospital… I
thought I was gonna lose her."
She had to stop chemotherapy last October
because of side-effects. Since then, Mike's been
giving Maggie natural supplements, to boost her
immune system, along with heavy doses of love
and positive thinking. "The tumor in her nose is
gone… There's absolutely nothing there."
And now, Maggie's back to her weekly rounds.
"I'm sure all that stuff contributed but there's
no one thing that says this is what did it other
than, as I say, positive thinking, the love and
support she gets from everybody has been
While Maggie's still making her rounds, Mike is
training her companion Sadie to fill her paws.
"Every day right now, Ron, it's a gift. It's a
gift and I share that gift and love with
Mike says there's no cure for canine mast cell
cancer, but there's not a minute Maggie goes
without love. Mike says Maggie's been great
therapy for him in her ten years and he'd be
lost without her.
Watch Maggie and Sadie by clicking on the
television icon (works well in Internet Explorer
Protecting Your Pet: Therapy dogs
Dylan Dreyer Reporting, WHDH-TV, November
Animals provide a great
source of companionship for many people. Now,
one specially trained dog is helping to light up
the lives of nursing home residents.
Ten-year-old Maggie is a visitor of a different
breed at the Shrewsbury Nursing and
Rehabilitation Center. Maggie's monthly visits
aren't just a treat for her, but for the
residents too. The golden retriever is a
certified therapy dog. She gives the elderly in
nursing homes a four-legged friend to look
"When you walk in you just see their eyes light
up. It's like someone just clicked a switch and
you can see them just light right up, and it
makes their day because it gives them something
different other than their daily routine,"
Maggie's owner, Mike Kewley, said.
Kewley started the volunteer program, Shrewsbury
Paws for Patients, three years ago.
"I just wanted to do things for the community
and help people," Kewley said.
Kewley and Maggie visit about eight nursing
homes a month. Those who work at the center say
Maggie brings a unique source of affection and
companionship to the elderly.
"They reminisce about when they had animals of
their own and it brings up a lot of happy
memories and they just enjoy the unconditional
love that Maggie provides them," Judy Heck, of
the Shrewsbury Nursing and Rehabilitation
Center, said. "We benefit a lot from it. We
could have it everyday if it was available!"
For Kewley, it's all about seeing the joy on
their faces when it's time to visit with their
"It's an overwhelming experience for me, when I
walk out the door if I can make one person smile
it's all worth it," Kewley said.
Maggie also visits local hospitals.
Copyright 2007 Sunbeam Television.
Let Me Meet Another Therapist
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