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St. Vincent’s Seeks Pet Volunteers for New Program

November 3, 2015

St. Vincent’s HealthCare, a member of Ascension, the nation’s largest Catholic and non-profit healthcare system, is creating a pet therapy program for patients. In its beginning phase, the program will only be offered to residents of St. Catherine Labouré Manor, located adjacent to St. Vincent’s Riverside.

“We are dedicated to caring for the whole person – mind, body and soul,” said Vice President and Administrator of St. Catherine Labouré Manor, Maureen Gartland. “For decades now, studies have shown that pets can make people happier and healthier. We are confident that the Mary Lou Russell Pet Therapy Program will only confirm these findings for us by improving the lives of our residents at St. Catherine Labouré Manor.”

Research has shown companion animals can help their human counterparts regulate their hearts in stressful situations and ease anxiety. They can also help improve fine motor skills, help people develop social skills and motivate people to exercise.

St. Vincent’s is currently seeking volunteers with pets to become part of the program. To do so, interested pet owners need to become a volunteer through St. Vincent’s and their pet must pass a pet therapy certification. An informational meeting will be held on November 10th at 5:30 p.m. at St. Catherine Labouré Manor in Riverside.

To learn more about how to be part of the pet therapy program or to RSVP for the informational meeting, contact Jessa Dickerman at or (904) 308-4703.

To learn more about St. Catherine Labouré Manor, visit