Michigan's New Therapy Dogs Look to Spread Joy in the Hospital

Denver interacting with a patient
Denver playing with a patient / www.uofmhealth.org

We are excited to introduce to you the two newest therapy dogs at C.S. Mott Children's Hospital: Denver and Anna.

Thanks to a generous donation from the Laurence Polatsch Memorial Fund, Denver and Anna are the first full-time therapy dogs to join the Health System.

A 1990 graduate of the University of Michigan, Laurence Polatsch lived each day of his life entertaining the people around him, eventually earning the nickname “Hollywood” from friends. Polatsch, a native New Yorker, lost his life inside the World Trade Center buildings on September 11, 2001.

To honor Polatsch’s legacy, his friends set up a scholarship through the University of Michigan’s College of Literature, Science, and the Arts (LSA). Each scholarship is a four-year Dean’s Merit Scholarship for undergraduates in LSA and is worth over $60,000. In order to be eligible, the students must be in need of financial assistance.

“We wanted to make a tangible impact on Laurence’s behalf,” said Andrew Kaminsky, one of Polatsch’s friends and Executive Director of his Memorial Fund. “Through Laurence’s scholarships, we have seen eight different students graduate.” 

The University of Michigan PAWS 4 Patients Doggy Shower took place on August 15 to August 20 and raised $6,498 for Denver and Anna’s preventive care, food, grooming and treats. 

Denver and Anna with caretakers
Denver and Anna with their caretakers / youtube.com

Being in the hospital for long periods of time can be hard for patients. Denver and Anna’s presence will bring our Little Victors comfort, affection and happiness at a time when they’re away from home and may be feeling scared or uncomfortable.

“Knowing these dogs are going to impact the children and staff on some of their worse days is something you can’t put a value on,” said Kaminsky. “We are so happy Laurence’s life will make an immeasurable impact on the patients at Mott.”

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If you want to learn more about Denver and Anna, click here for their video