This past year has found many people coming up with new and creative ways to continue to provide services to others, and Grizzly is no different! Grizzly is a loveable 150 pound St. Bernard therapy dog, who, along with his owner Mark Saler, visits hospitals in the Prairie Mountain Health region.
Due to COVID-19, Grizzly has been unable to make his usual weekly rounds. When the Lions Club awarded this therapy team with the Medal of Hope and $500 to use towards gas, Mark came up with the idea to use the funds differently. His idea was to purchase stuffed baby Grizzly’s to give to all the children who cannot enjoy his friendly in-person visits during this time.
Mark approached several local businesses and groups with his idea. The response was immediate; they all wanted to be part of this heart-filled initiative to get as many Grizzly pups as possible to the hospitals. Through donations gathered by Mark and the $500 from the Lions Club, he has been able to drop off more than two hundred stuffed Grizzly pups to the Brandon Regional Health Centre (BRHC) Pediatric ward and Emergency Department and the Minnedosa and Neepawa Hospitals, with more on the way.
Tammy Turner, Maternal-Child Care Team Manager at BRHC, is grateful to Mark and Grizzly and the support of groups and businesses for the donation of stuffed Grizzly dogs. “Our patients (and staff!) miss Grizzly with his in-person visits during COVID restrictions over the past year, but the stuffed animals that can be given to a child during their hospital stay to cuddle with and take home to love forever have been great! Thanks, Mark and Grizzly!”
“We have been visiting hospitals for six years now. Grizzly will be back at the hospitals as soon as the pandemic ends; nothing will stop him from his amazing work, including this virus,” Saler stated.
Pictured L-R: Krista Czarnecki, Pediatric Nurse; Dr Wasiu Ayinde, Chief of Pediatrics; Tammy Turner, Maternal-Child Care Team Manager; Dr Sailaja Nemani, Pediatrician; Katie Kidd, 3rd year BN Student
Grizzly - Volunteer Therapy Dog