Hospice of the Western Reserve Volunteer Honored with Busch Recognition Award


Busch Funeral and Crematory Services recognizes and appreciates the hard work of individuals in the community who have taken on the responsibility of being a caregiver. The company invites community members to nominate hospice professionals and caregivers in Northeast Ohio for the monthly Busch Recognition Program Award to thank those who provide hope and comfort to those in need. Each month, Busch chooses one caregiver and one volunteer for the award. Hospice of the Western Reserve volunteer Cathy Mutnick – and her dog, were recently honored.

Nominated by Nancy Guder on behalf of Hospice of the Western Reserve, Cathy Mutnick and her pet therapy dog, Chelsea, were honored for their work as pet therapy volunteers. They exemplify hope and comfort to hospice patients, families and staff during weekly visits to David Simpson Hospice House.

Pat Bennett, Volunteer Service manager, offers this about Cathy’s volunteer work:

“We value Cathy and Chelsea for their ability to offer comfort to patients 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.”

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, 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 patient wings. Their visits are eagerly anticipated and filled with joyfulness that only this pet therapy team can deliver.


What makes Cathy so 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 patent’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 brighter.

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

Cathy has been instrumental in the success of the pet therapy volunteer program in working with the human volunteer as well as their pet. Training is done at David Simpson Hospice House over the course of a few sessions. Her feedback is critical in ensuring that the pet therapy teams are fully integrated into the clinical setting.

Our agency is truly fortunate to have Cathy and Cody on our team. The day of the award ceremony, the group was also able to celebrate Chelsea’s 10th birthday which made for an extra special moment.


To learn more about pet therapy and volunteering, visit our website hospicewr.org/volunteer.

We Can Help

Speak with the referral team by contacting us seven days a week, 24 hours a day. Any first visit and admission can be made the first day.

Northern Ohio's Hospice of Choice

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.