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Facility Dog Banjo

5 Years of Service at Calvary

In 2018 the Calvary family welcomed Banjo, a certified facility dog from Canine Companions for Independence to the staff and family at our Bronx Campus.

Over the past 5 years, Banjo has played a vital role in supporting our mission and providing invaluable assistance to patients and their loved ones facing life-limiting illnesses.

Banjo, our certified facility dog, has undergone specialized training in evidence-based animal-assisted therapy, which is widely recognized for its benefits in the context of hospice and palliative care.

Animal therapy has a profound impact on individuals facing life-limiting illness.

Banjo’s presence at Calvary demonstrates the power of the human-animal bond in promoting emotional well-being and overall quality of life. Patients who interact with Banjo often experience reduced stress, increased comfort, and improved mood.

Banjo, under the dedicated care of Shannon McCourt, LCSW Family Care Practitioner, serves as a comfort and calming presence to patients and their families.
In the course of Banjo’s daily routine, he rounds the floors meeting with patients and attends recreational activities, he actively engages with patients and their loved ones, providing support and a safe outlet for emotional expression.

“During difficult conversations, Banjo’s calming and soothing demeanor has proven invaluable to the Calvary team. Who often call him in during difficult discussions. His very presence is a comfort to us all easing distress and helping to advance the very mission of our care.” says Shannon McCourt.

Animal Therapy Extends Beyond Emotional Support

Numerous studies have highlighted the physiological benefits that can arise from interacting with therapy animals. Simply petting and spending time with trained animals like Banjo is known to lower blood pressure, reduce anxiety levels, and release endorphins, the body’s natural ‘feel-good’ hormones. These positive effects contribute to an improved sense of well-being and enhanced coping mechanisms for patients navigating the challenges of life-limiting illnesses.

Honored with Prestigious K-9 Courage Award
Recognizing the immense value Banjo brings to Calvary’s mission, our patients, families, and staff, Banjo was recognized by Zoetis PetCare with a prestigious K-9 Courage Award recognizing his contribution to Calvary and the people we care for at our 35th Annual Gala in 2018.

Banjo’s remarkable dedication and service underscore the transformative impact that animal therapy can have in the lives of individuals facing difficult circumstances.

Pictured: Shannon McCourt (left) receiving the K-9 Recognition Award for Banjo.

With his tail wagging and a joyful spring in his step, Banjo brings a unique healing medicine to our patients, their families, and our staff.

At Calvary, we are grateful for Banjo’s unwavering dedication to our mission. We remain committed to integrating the power of animal-assisted therapy into our comprehensive approach to compassionate end-of-life care.