The American Society for the Prevention of Cruelty to Animals® recently announced Studley, a cheerful white-haired feline with one gold eye and one blue eye from Olympia, has been named the recipient of the ASPCA “Cat of the Year” award. Studley, who manages his own Facebook page and has more than 4,200 followers, began volunteering with the Providence Animal Assisted Activities and Therapy program in 2007.
The PAAA/T program was created in 1989 to share the unique benefits of the human-animal bond with the patients, staff and visitors of Providence St. Peter Hospital. Danni Sabia, PAAA/T program coordinator says, “Animals bring comfort and a sense of normalcy to patients in the sterile atmosphere of a hospital.”
Studley is the only therapy cat in the program out of more than 30 animals, and has been a regular visitor to Providence St. Peter Hospital, where’s he’s been offering comfort to patients primarily in the psychiatric unit. Sabia says, “Studley is at his best visiting with patients on the psychiatric unit. His calming presence has brought comfort to patients during very difficult times in their lives.”
Following a nationwide public call for nominations, an ASPCA-appointed committee reviewed hundreds of entries and selected winners in six categories. Studley, along with the other ASPCA honorees, will be honored at this year’s ASPCA Humane Awards Luncheon Nov. 13 in New York City. According to the ASPCA, the ceremony recognizes “animal heroes who have demonstrated extraordinary efforts as well as individuals who have shown great commitment to animal welfare during the past year.”
Studley’s human handlers, Keith and Pam Phillips, adopted Studley in 2006, after Studley had been abandoned along the side of a road and rescued by Joint Animal Services. They nursed him back to health, and he quickly became a therapy cat, giving love and comfort to people in need. “It’s difficult to say who was more fortunate the day that Studley found Pam and Keith,” says Sabia. ”But, without a doubt, it was a lucky day for the hundreds of people whose lives Studley has touched during his seven-year tenure at Providence.”
Providence Animal-Assisted Activities and Therapy program begins a new training in February 2015! For more information, contact Danni Sabia at Danni.Sabia@providence.org.