Therapy Dogs Spread the Love at MossRehab

If one dog is good, then lots of dogs must be better, right?

Patients at MossRehab are happily testing out that theory thanks to a new partnership with Comfort Caring Canines. Volunteers from the nonprofit organization have been bringing their therapy dogs to the campus in Elkins Park since December.

MossRehab already had its resident canine, Pender, a Labrador and golden retriever mix who was trained as a facility dog through Canine Companions for Independence. His training is used to encourage and motivate patients in therapy sessions, help them work on their goals to improve function, and provide some extra fun! But Pender can’t be everywhere.

So Liz Decina, a MossRehab recreation therapist who is Pender’s partner, got excited in December when she met a therapy-dog team from Comfort Caring Canines, a local nonprofit organization. “We are always looking for cost-effective ways to better serve more of our patients’ needs in a variety of fun and emotionally fulfilling ways,” she says.

Decina and Alicia Harantschuk, president of Comfort Caring Canines, developed the Moss Paws for Progress program at MossRehab, which allows the trained owner-dog teams to visit patients on the rehab floors at hours that work with their schedules.

They often visit on evenings and weekends. “I would say most weeks we get at least one visit,” Decina says. Decina and Harantschuk are eager to get additional teams up and running soon.

On a recent day, Alyssa Schafer and Maddy, her 8-year-old, 25-pound mixed-breed rescue dog, took a tour of the third-floor rehab unit, earning smiles everywhere. They would stay just a few minutes in each room where a patient wanted a visit, but it was enough.

“Want to give me a kiss?” asked Helen Kane. “I don’t get many kisses.” Maddy obliged.

Others just wanted to accept the invitation Maddy had displayed on her vest: “Therapy Dog. Pet Me.”

Unlike Pender and other facility dogs, who are expertly trained to do specific tasks, the therapy dogs who visit MossRehab have a different job. They are there to cuddle, comfort and help patients keep a positive outlook. Their purpose is love alone.

Schafer, who is also a dog trainer, says she and Maddy became certified with Comfort Caring Canines a year ago. She was excited when the Moss Paws for Progress program started close to her home.

According to Harantschuk, Comfort Caring Canines dogs must be at least a year old and not aggressive. They must complete a standard obedience course or have a Canine Good Citizen title from the American Kennel Club. They also need a current license and vaccinations.

Handlers must be at least 18 and provide criminal and child abuse background checks. They also go through a Comfort Caring Canines orientation.

“For Pender and other facility dogs, the process is much more rigorous,” Decina says.

But the patients visiting with Maddy recently weren’t looking at her credentials. They were happy just to hang out with her.

For more information or to get involved with Moss Paws for Progress, contact Liz Decina,

How dogs help kids learn to read at Philly’s Free Library

All of the small children sitting on the rainbow carpet at Queen Memorial Library in Point Breeze are transfixed. Despite the usual temperament of three-year-olds, this group neither whines nor complains.

They pay close attention to librarian Elizabeth Gardiner’s effusive reading of Brown Bear, Brown Bear, What Do You See to the tune of Twinkle Twinkle Little Star. What’s keeping the small bodies in check? The attentiveness likely has to do with the chocolate-colored gentle giant sprawled across the rug in front of them.

Konig, a seven-year-old Bernese Mountain Dog, is one of a handful of pups who volunteer their time to providing “judgment-free” zones at select Free Library locations. Each month, he patiently listens to over-enthused narration and pants along to silly sing-a-longs with 15 to 20 daycare-aged children.

The idea isn’t novel — but it’s getting more and more popular.

Full Article

Quakertown Vet Clinic Pet Fair

The Quakertown Pet Fair is happening again on June 2.  Be sure to stop by and say HI!.  See below from last year's event. 

At Quakertown Veterinary Clinic, they strive to provide the best care for your animal.      

We provide both routine and 24-hour emergency care services to the tri-county area surrounding Quakertown, Pennsylvania. It is our mission to provide compassionate quality care for our patients and the owners who love them.

Founded in the early 1900's, Quakertown Veterinary Clinic has expanded to include emergency and general care for companion animals, exotics, equine and farm animals, as well as boarding and grooming, laboratory and other services. 

We are proud to be an accredited member of the American Animal Hospital Association, meeting its high standards for excellence in veterinary care. Only 14% of the small animal veterinary facilities in North America can claim this distinction!


Published by Impakter Magazine 

For full article, please visit

Authored by: Alicia Harantschuk, Breigh Godleski and Providenza Loera Rocco

Comfort Caring Canines holds First Evaluation in Philadelphia !

Comfort Caring Canines (CCC) has long wanted to offer evaluations in Philadelphia.  On May 14, 2016 the wait was over as 13 individuals came out to test with their dogs.  CCC is proud to report that all passed and are now therapy dog teams with the organization.

A very special thank you to Philly Pet Hotel for allowing us to use their wonderful facility.  Click here to learn more about Philly Pet Hotel.

If you would like to learn more about pet therapy and how to have your dog evaluated, please check out the CCC website at or email them at

blog pics 10.jpg
blog pics 11.jpg