Long Island Veterans Salute Canine Hero during Retirement Celebration
Therapy Dog Retires from Stony Brook University’s Long Island State Veterans Home after a Decade of Service, Visits His ‘Troops’ One Last Time for the Holiday Season
STONY BROOK, NY, DECEMBER 22, 2015 – There were cheers and tears today at the Long Island State Veterans Home at Stony Brook University as retired service men and women said farewell to one of their heroes– an almost 13-year-old Golden Retriever/Labrador mix named Andi.
During the ceremony, Andi was saluted by dozens of aging military Veterans and received a Medal of Honor for his nearly 10 years of service at the Veterans Home.
“We are so grateful to Andi and his owner, Chris Catalano for their almost 10 years of service to the Adult Day Health Care Program at the Long Island State Veterans Home,” said Fred S. Sganga, FACHE, Executive Director, Long Island State Veteran’s Home at Stony Brook University. “Their dedication, compassion and commitment to providing our registrants with “hands on” pet therapy, truly made a difference in the lives of the veterans we are so honored to care for.”
“Pet therapy plays such an integral part of our program here at the Vets home,” said Beth Schaeffler, CTRS,Recreation Therapist, Long Island State Veteran’s Home at Stony Brook University. “Pet therapy has been proven to significantly reduce pain, anxiety, and depression in people with a wide range of health problems. It has been known to lower blood pressure, lift spirits, increase socialization, lower stress and have a soothing effect on people. During Andi’s time here, I have seen firsthand how effective this therapy can be.”
“Andi’s service to our Home was truly appreciated and he will be sorely missed now that he is retiring,” said Sganga. “We were so glad to honor him today and to acknowledge the tremendous impact he made on all of us.”
Even though his paws are pretty big to fill, Blaire, an 8—year-old Labrador retriever will take over in Andi’s job at the Vets Home starting in the New Year.
And to make retirement a tad cozier, Arthur Fust, US Navy Veteran from the Adult Day Health Care Program presented Andi with a new dog bed.
About the Long Island State Veterans Home at Stony Brook University:
The LISVH at Stony Brook University is a 350 bed skilled nursing facility that also operates a 40 registrant medical model Adult Day Health Care program. It is one of 146 State Veterans Homes in the United States and Puerto Rico. The LISVH operates under the auspices of Stony Brook Medicine and remains one of only nursing homes in the country that is fully integrated into the health and educational mission of an academic medical center. Since opening its doors in October 1991, the Long Island State Veterans Home has provided care to more than 5,000 of Long Island’s veterans. For more information, please call (631) 444-VETS.