The Pet Therapy program at the James E. Cary Cancer Center was started by Hannibal Regional Auxiliary Member, Mary Dunaway, and her golden retriever, Buddy.

Mary is a cancer survivor who feels lucky to have beaten cancer and is proud to be part of the Pet Partner program with Buddy. During her treatment at the James E. Cary Cancer Center, Mary would often see others who were facing treatments without someone there to visit with and would often think it would be wonderful if she could bring Buddy to visit.

“The fact is, everybody needs a buddy – when they face cancer or any other disease,” shares Mary. “It was always my plan to take Buddy to nursing homes, schools, and personal visits to help others get through hard times, but little did I know that Buddy would become my therapy dog and play a big part in my cancer journey.”

Mary and Buddy are both certified through Pet Partners and will visit patients the first Wednesday afternoon of each month.  Pet Partners is the national leader in demonstrating and promoting positive human-animal interactions to improve the physical, emotional, and psychological lives of those they serve. Pet Partners is also the nation’s largest and most prestigious nonprofit registering handlers of multiple species as volunteer teams to provide animal-assisted interventions.

For more information about the Pet Therapy program, call 573-406-5800.