Volunteerism forms the backbone of many organizations. Volunteers are more likely to develop civic skills, grow interest in serving the public, and reach personal life goals. Volunteers also nurture an attitude that contributes to the well-being of all.

Volunteers perform helpful roles to generate well-being for people in their communities. Some do it to improve health. Some do it for friendship. Some do it to promote their special interests. There are a variety of motives to get involved in volunteer activities. Read on to see how volunteering with M.A.S.T. improves quality of life for our volunteers, dogs, medical staff, and patients!

Bringing out the smiles

As Bill K., M.A.S.T. volunteer, tells us: “Another great day at Illinois Masonic Hospital. We met a young adult with special needs in a place supporting individuals with disabilities. He pet and scratched Dandy (Bill’s therapy dog) for quite some time. As time went on, he began to smile and broke into a wide grin. I said to him “I think you’ve made a friend”. He smiled a big ol’ smile.

A little while later one of the staff members thanks me kind of out of the blue. I said ‘Sure’ in response. The staff member goes on to say that was the first time they had seen him smile and relax since arriving about three weeks ago.”

MAST Dog Program

Volunteering with a program is necessary to bring therapy dogs into many secure places like hospitals. M.A.S.T. Dog Program therapy dogs get to go into many wards of hospitals with their handlers. Bill continues to say, “We had a young lady approach and say ‘there is a patient in room XXX who loves dogs.’ We turn quickly and meet a family with adult kids with a dad who appeared to have had a stroke. The family was thrilled that we all stopped by. We even got a smile from dad and Dandy got a head scratch.”

Patients of all ages enjoy the visits from M.A.S.T. Visits with kids are a favorite. Bill remembers, “We met a boy in the pediatric area who wasn’t sure about seeing the dogs. The department head took Eli (the 8-week-old blue eyed pit bull puppy) in first. By the time we got out of there, all the dogs got pet and greeted, and we saw a hint of a smile. Yes, a really good morning with a bunch of friends, and a whole group of extraordinary dogs. It was a great day!”

MAST’s Puppy wagon!

Puppies get involved too. Though most therapy dogs need to be at least 1 year old, puppies bring a special kind of love and compassion to patients. Who can’t smile when holding a puppy? Not many.

 

Interested? Join us!

Do you have a dog with a calm and loving demeanor who loves meeting people? Have you often thought about volunteering but didn’t know where to start? If you are interested in bringing smiles to patients all over the Chicagoland area, join M.A.S.T. and spread love by volunteering with us! Check out our website and get involved!