Date:  Friday, 4-22-2011

Contact:  Manny P. Hernandez

               Manager, Public Information


Easter Bunny official appointee and nonprofit Cornerstone Hospice volunteer Della Figur of Lorida enjoys the moment while Hospice patient Alice Gedge is comforted by  Gidget, a female Belgian Schipperke and certified Pet Therapy Dog, part of the team of six members of the Hospice Therapy K-9 Pooch Patrol making their appointed rounds visiting homebound patients Easter week. The visit took place Thursday at Ms. Gedge’s home at Sunny Hills Assisted Living facility in Sebring.


Official Easter Bunny appointees and nonprofit Cornerstone Hospice volunteers and pet therapy handlers Della Figur (left) of Lorida and Sandra Fankhauser (right) of Sebring, pose with Fritz, a male Australian shepherd, who accompanies Sandra on her rounds visiting patients Thursday at Sunny Hills Assisted Living facility in Sebring. Della accompanies Gidget, Gizmo and Penny; and Sandra accompanies Fritz, Katie and Tina on their patient rounds


SEBRING --Cornerstone Hospice has enlisted the help of some four-legged friends.  Six Hospice Therapy Dogs will make the rounds during Easter week, visiting Highlands County patients who are facing a life-threatening or life-limiting illness.  Better known as the "Hospice Therapy K-9 Patrol", pooches Gidget, Penny, Gizmo, Fritz, Katie and Tina, and their handlers have undergone a two-day 16-hour Cornerstone Hospice Volunteer Training where they learned more about working with Hospice patients and their families.  The dogs have earned the official and coveted Therapy Dog certification, which authorizes this four-legged team to go visiting patients at nursing homes, hospitals, health care facilities and at their homes.

For further information about volunteering for Hospice or to be part of the Therapy K-9 Patrol, please call volunteer specialist Sherry DiSimone in Highlands County at (863) 382-4563.

Cornerstone Hospice is a non-profit community-based healthcare organization, making its services available since 1984 to all individuals facing life-limiting illnesses and their families without regard to age, gender, national origin, diagnosis, cost of therapy, ability to pay or life circumstances, and may be reached in Highlands county at (8630 382-4563 or toll-free (800) 503-5756 or visit the website