Dine With Your Dog Proceeds Benefit PetSmart Charities’ Paws Can Heal Animal-Assisted Therapy Program
PHOENIX – The annual Dine With Your Dog brunch on Saturday, Feb. 8 was a resounding success for Valley pups and their companions, raising $131,000 plus an additional donation by a generous donor raised the total to more than $168,000. All proceeds benefit PetSmart Charities Paws Can Heal Animal-Assisted Therapy program at Phoenix Children’s.
This year’s brunch was held at Monterra at Westworld. The fun-filled brunch for a good cause featured gourmet canine cuisine prepared by Phoenix Children’s own Chef Spiro Andreopoulos. He’s a seasoned chef with international experience.
Their human companions enjoyed a sweet and savory brunch spread courtesy of M Catering at Monterra, plus Mimosas and Tito’s Handmade Vodka Bloody Marys. Attendees had the opportunity to explore pet play areas, stroll in front of the “pup-arazzi,” chat up fellow dog lovers and bid at the silent auction with dazzling swag.
“Dogs have a profound impact on people,” said Steve Schnall, Senior Vice President and Chief Development Officer at Phoenix Children’s Hospital Foundation. “At Phoenix Children’s, therapeutic visits from Animal-Assisted Therapy dogs help kids move, express their feelings and accelerate the healing process. We’re grateful so many people bring their own dogs out and support this critical program.”
Local TV anchor, radio host, producer and columnist Jan D’Atri served as emcee for the program along with event chairs, Lee Courtney and Kimberly Jacobsen. D’Atri brought energy and enthusiasm to the role as the owner of 26 farm animals herself.
The program included storytelling around the impact of Animal-Assisted Therapy, and Bryce and Debbie Sherman received the Dine With Your Dog Ambassador Award. Their son, Kameron passed away in 2019 after a battle with cancer. Because Kameron enjoyed his time with the dog therapy teams, they launched a foundation to honor his memory, benefitting Animal-Assisted Therapy teams.
2020 Dine With Your Dog Committee
Kimberly Jacobsen & Lee Courtney
Past Chair Advisor
Oscar De las salas
Margaret Anderson / Rachel Freed / Jackie Griffin / Amy Hair / Tina Hilstrom / Cari Kussy / Katee Lauchner / Tracey Lytle / Cynthia Sassi / Michelle Sharp / Sue Singer
About PetSmart Paws Can Heal Animal-Assisted Therapy
Dogs are a man’s best friend. They are also a patient’s best friend at Phoenix Children’s Hospital. Funded completely by philanthropic support, the PetSmart Charities Paws Can Heal Animal-Assisted Therapy Program has grown to more than 50 therapy animal and owner teams. Animal-assisted therapy provides valuable physical and emotional benefits to children who are faced with a serious illness or injury. Visits from therapy dogs reduce stress levels, help kids forget about their pain and laugh and smile. While a patient may not want to participate in physical therapy, he/she may be willing to go on a walk with a therapy dog or throw a ball to a willing fetcher. Patients, siblings and parents often miss their own dogs, so visits from the therapy dogs provide a comforting sense of normalcy.