Pet Therapy at Sky Ridge
Under the leadership of Carolyn Shovlowsky and her partner Rockie (right), Sky Ridge has had an Animal-Assisted therapy program since the summer of 2008. Sky Ridge Medical Center is one of the largest animal-assisted therapy program in the metro area with 15 dogs and 11 handlers, visiting more than 150 patients, families and employees each week.
All of our handlers are volunteers and enjoy helping patients through their love of canines. The teams are evaluated and registered by Pet Partners, and due to its high quality, need to be re-evaluated every two years. Enjoy browsing through the pet profiles below to become more familiar with our K-9 Team!
Armand was born in 2012 and raised in the Guide Dog for the Blind program, but decided to come back home to his puppy raisers. When Armand was 10-months-old, he had a bowel obstruction that landed him in the ICU. Since then, he seems to understand hospitals and the power of healing. Armand is a big boy at 75 pounds, but his big head can lay ever so gently in someone's hand to be petted. He is learning to play Frisbee in his spare time, something a guide dog isn’t allowed to do!
Bosley is a Standard Poodle who was rescued in an unusual manner – he was returned to his breeder by his original owners who claimed he was incorrigible and could never become a good citizen. Despite Bosley’s inauspicious childhood, he quickly learned all the necessary skills to become a therapy dog and started his career in January 2014. He loves snuggling into his working vest and visiting with patients, family and staff.
Darby is a seven-year-old golden retriever and has been a therapy dog since 2009. Darby was rescued when he was a year old and has had a rough start to his life as he was abused and abandoned. He was left with a number of orthopedic issues, but his warm and enthusiastic spirit has helped him overcome many obstacles. He loves his work at the hospitals and will soon begin work at the medical school providing warm fuzzies to student doctors during high stress periods. His hobbies include swimming, hiking, and snuggling.
Dillon has been a therapy dog since 2007 and is a very loving nine-year-old golden retriever. He was adopted from Arizona when he was 8 months old. Dillon has participated in the library reading program and will soon start providing comfort to medical students during exam periods. Dillon enjoys hiking, chasing squirrels, fetching our morning paper and playing with his little brother, Darby. He won a gold medal at the Dog Olympics in the newspaper fetch event and has numerous awards for his volunteer work. He loves working at the hospital, meeting new people and giving warmth and comfort to patients, visitors and staff.
Felix is a 3.5 pound Maltese who has absolutely no concept of his true size. He has participated in pet therapy programs in hospitals, universities and nursing homes for five of his eight years and had never met a stranger. His favorite hobbies include chasing deer from the yard and turning large men into small dog lovers.
Hondo is a red and white Border Collie with a hint of Australian Shepherd. His favorite game is playing catch and would play for hours if only his human would keep throwing that toy! Hondo has been a therapy dog since 2011, competes in agility competitions for fun and is also a Hope Animal-Assisted Crisis Response dog. Hondo loves making new friends and giving kisses.
Jamie is four-years-old and has been enjoying pet therapy for almost two years. She loves playing with her friends at doggy daycare and being with her family at home. She has a duck toy fetish and particularly likes ones that make loud and obnoxious noises. She enjoys visiting everyone in the hospital!
Lexi, a nine-year-old Portuguese Water dog, has been a hospital therapy dog for since 2013. A cancer survivor herself, Lexi takes joy in "paying forward" the love and support she experienced when she was in the animal hospital. She loves romping around with other dogs and her favorite game is hide and seek!
Mab is a seven-year-old pug who was adopted after her family’s property was damaged in the Colorado Black Forest fire. She has been fulfilling her life's mission as a therapy dog since 2014. She loves bringing comfort and companionship to patients because she knows she receives petting and snuggling in return! Mab also participates in a library reading program with children, which is perfect for her since she is named after a Shakespearian fairy queen.
Meg has been assisting patients through the Pet Therapy Program since the summer of 2009. She usually visits patients on the fourth and sixth floors of the hospital. Meg got her name from the soccer term "nutmeg" and that’s why she wears a soccer ball collar. She enjoys talking long walks and chewing on her toys. Of course, the occasionally belly rub isn't too bad either.
Oscar is a golden-lab cross who career changed from Guide Dogs for the Blind at 15 months of age due to immature cataracts. As his puppy raiser, I was able to bring him back home to become my second therapy dog partner. Due to his service dog status, Oscar has been working since he was a tiny puppy. He is mellow, gentle and intuitive, a people magnet who has the ability to bring an air of calm wherever he goes. Napping is his specialty although now that he is a "normal" dog, he is learning to enjoy previously forbidden games such as fetch.
Penny is an eight-year-old Labrador retriever who has been doing pet therapy for seven months. She was adopted from a lab rescue organization when the family who raised her from a puppy could no longer keep her. She enjoys playing ball and running in the field behind our house. She loves visiting the patients and staff at Sky Ridge.
Snickers is a four-year-old black labradoodle and has been part of the program for two years. Snickers may appear calm and mellow, but he does get his bursts of energy when his favorite toys turn up. He will visit any area of the hospital and loves getting a glass of ice as a reward when visits are over.
U2 began visiting Sky Ridge in October 2010 and will soon be five-years-old. Her name was inspired by her owner’s favorite band. U2 spends her down time taking walks and chasing away the rabbits and squirrels. You will usually see U2 on the third, fourth and fifth floors of the hospital.
Willie is a six-year-old Aussiedoodle who has been part of the therapy program since October 2013. Willie is very friendly, has boundless energy and loves life. Patients remark about how mellow he is, but outside his Sky Ridge duties, he is anything but mellow. He loves chasing squirrels or his toys, but especially loves taunting his canine cousin Sadie. He enjoys camping, hiking and riding in the car.
Ziva's not your typical Shetland Sheepdog (Sheltie). While visiting patients, she is very calm and enjoys receiving attention from children and staff. When at home, Ziva enjoys playing, running, chasing balls and hanging out with her fellow Sheltie sister and brother. After earning her Canine Good Citizen and Canine Community Partner titles, Ziva was trained to be a therapy dog.