Volunteer Caregiver of the Year Awarded to Cathy Mutnick and Therapy Dog Chelsea

CATEGORY: News and Community; Volunteers

​Cathy Mutnick and her pet therapy dog, Chelsea were recently honored as Volunteer Caregiver of the Year through the Busch Recognition Program. The work that Cathy and Chelsea do exemplifies hope and comfort to our patients, families and staff during their weekly visits to David Simpson Hospice House.

Cathy’s career as a volunteer with Hospice of the Western Reserve is just shy of four years. During this time, she has been engaged in a vital role as a volunteer at David Simpson Hospice House creating countless meaningful experiences. She has also been instrumental in onboarding new volunteers and their pet therapy dogs to the work of hospice. The staff is always delighted when they know that Cathy and Chelsea are in David Simpson Hospice House and are making their way down each of the facilities wings. Their visits are eagerly anticipated and filled with joyfulness, that only this pet therapy team can deliver.

“We value Cathy and Chelsea for their ability to offer comfort to patients at whatever “place” they are at and providing smiles and peace at the bedside. Cathy’s unwavering compassion, sensitivity and insightfulness are a joy to observe as she and Chelsea have been able to connect with a wide variety of patients,” said Pat Bennett, Volunteer Service Manager.

What makes Cathy special is her unique ability to offer her work as an important part of the care provided as a member of the clinical team. She and Chelsea approach each patient’s door, asking respectfully for permission to enter for a visit. She is skilled at asking pertinent questions to sense a patient’s comfort level and the degree of interaction with Chelsea. Families have often commented that a visit from Cathy and Chelsea have made their loved one’s day a little bit brighter.

The feeling seems to be mutual.

“Of all the facilities Chelsea and I have visited since becoming a pet therapy team right years ago, David Simpson Hospice House is our absolute favorite. Chelsea starts wagging her tail when the car pulls into the parking lot,” said Cathy. 

We are very grateful for the work Cathy and Chelsea have done and continue to do in service to fulfilling the mission of Hospice of the Western Reserve.

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More than 1,000 Hospice of the Western Reserve employees and 3,000 volunteers live and work side-by-side in the same neighborhoods with our patients and families. We are privileged to have cared for more than 100,000 Northern Ohioans since our inception.