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" activities.

 

 


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  Shrewsbury Paws, 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 celebration.

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 along with even more gifts from other staff members. Maggie made their day playing with all of the stuffed toy presents.


 

Meet Maggie and Sadie by watching this January 15, 2007 news video, Therapy dog help cure sick patients. They appeared with myself and Dr. Marianne Felice, Chair & Professor of Pediatrics, UMass Memorial Children’s Medical Center.

Watch Maggie and Sadie in this June 18, 2007 WBZ Shrewsbury news video, Maggie The Dog Fights Cancer, Continues Her Work. (Works well in Internet Explorer browser)

Watch Maggie in this November 12, 2007 WHDH-TV news video, Protecting Your Pet: Therapy Dogs


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 now.”

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 dog.

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 CGC with 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


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 is doing.
 
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 no?


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 people.

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 & Jay       Shrewsbury 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 name.

“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.’


Eric Luu,
5-YEAR-OLD PATIENT IN THE
PEDIATRICS WARD

“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 leukemia.
 


 

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 Nursing.

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 homes.

“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 years old.

“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 Fraga said.

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 playroom. “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, legal issues.”

Dr. Felice keeps dog treats in a jar on a low shelf in her office. Maggie knows where they are. “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 around.”

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 www.tdi-dog.org and Delta Society Pet Partners Program at www.deltasociety.org



 

The story of Maggie and JayTherapy dog and hospital's sickest children share in cancer fight
By Megan Woolhouse, Photo by Bill Polo, The Boston Globe, September 17, 2006

 


Cancer patient Ja'Kwan Davis got a visit from Maggie at UMass Medical Center in Worcester.
 


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 devastating."

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 him cope. ``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 a pet."

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 of magic. 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 said.

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 difference."

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 hospital.

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 hospital.

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 on.

Copyright 2006 Globe Newspaper Company

 

The story of Maggie and Jay
By Megan Woolhouse, Photo by Bill Polo, The Boston Globe West Updates, December 29, 2006


 
 


Jakwan Davis, Felicia Davis, Maggie the dog, and trainer Mike Kewley during a recent visit

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.

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 tumors.

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 and down."



 

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 elevator.”

2007 Worcester Telegram & Gazette Corp.


 

Old allies against cancer, Jay, Maggie gain ground
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 the window.


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 Davis.

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 been bleak.

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 shrewsburypaws.com.

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 now.

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 overwhelming."

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 everybody."

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 browser).


 


Protecting Your Pet: Therapy dogs
Dylan Dreyer Reporting, WHDH-TV, November 12, 2007

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 forward to.

"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 furry friend.

"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

FAIR USE NOTICE
These articles contains copyrighted material, the use of which has not always been specifically authorized by the copyright owner. I am making such material available in my efforts to provide background knowledge on areas related to therapy dogs and canine cancer. I believe this constitutes a 'fair use' of any such copyrighted material as provided for in section 107 of the US Copyright Law. In accordance with Title 17 U.S.C. Section 107, the material in this article is distributed without profit for educational purposes.


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