April 7-13, 2019 is #VolunteerAppreciationWeek, and Pet Partners wants to celebrate all of the dedicated volunteers who are the heart of our Therapy Animal Program! During the week we’ll be sharing stories on social media about some of our volunteers and how important they are to our program, to their communities, and to each other.

Monday, April 8

Diane Prange and TolstoyDiane Prange has been a Pet Partners handler since 2015. Her first partner was her husky Tolstoy. Sadly, Tolstoy’s therapy dog career was cut short; he passed away due to cancer in early 2019. Because Tolstoy was a registered Pet Partners therapy dog, Diane was able to receive some assistance with the costs of Tolstoy’s cancer treatment from our Cancer Care Fund, thanks to generous support from the Petco Foundation and Blue Buffalo. Pet Partners is pleased to be able to offer this benefit to our registered volunteers, as a way of supporting the vital work our teams do bringing therapy animals and the human-animal bond to those who need it.

And we’re grateful for volunteers like Diane and Tolstoy, who loved his work. Diane had this to say about Tolstoy’s time as a therapy dog: “Tolstoy completed more than 450 visits with Pet Partners in his short career. He was awarded the AKC Therapy Dog Distinguished THDX in 2018. “As a Pet Partners dog he visited hospice, care centers, libraries, special needs classrooms, and the MSP airport. He was honored to be one of two therapy dogs to take part in the Super Bowl VII pre-game show in 2018. He was also the WCCO Minnesota State Fair ‘Singing Dog’ this past summer. “We lost Tolstoy at age seven. He only lived half a life, but thanks to his partnership with Pet Partners, he lived it whole.”