Chuck and Pattie Mitchell Why I Give

Chuck and Pattie MitchellChuck and Patty’s golden retriever, Rikki, a Hurricane Katrina rescue dog, encountered more than 20,000 people through the Tallahassee Memorial Animal Therapy Program. The couple created an endowment in Rikki’s honor after her death in 2016 to support the program.

How did Rikki change lives?

CHUCK: A woman recently came up to me and said, “You won’t recognize me, but you and Rikki worked with me.” She had been terribly burned in a car accident, and when we visited her, she only had one part of her body that could be touched without pain. That was her hand. She was able to   pet Rikki, and she said it was transforming. These animals affect people in ways human beings can’t. It makes an impact, especially on people who have experienced trauma.

What is unique about the Tallahassee Memorial Animal Therapy Program?

CHUCK: There are hundreds of hospitals with animal therapy programs for patients, families and staff, but TMH sends its teams off campus. We’re in schools to help children who areKatrina rescue dog, encountered more than 20,000 people through the Tallahassee Memorial Animal Therapy Program. The couple created an endowment in Rikki’s honor after her death in 2016 to support the program.

How did Rikki change lives?

CHUCK: A woman recently came up to me and said, “You won’t recognize me, but you and Rikki worked with me.” She had been terribly burned in a car accident, and when we visited her, she only had one part of her body that could be touched without pain. That was her hand. She was able to   pet Rikki, and she said it was transforming. These animals affect people in ways human beings can’t. It makes an impact, especially on people who have experienced trauma.

What is unique about the Tallahassee Memorial Animal Therapy Program?

CHUCK: There are hundreds of hospitals with animal therapy programs for patients, families and staff, but TMH sends its teams off campus. We’re in schools to help children who are struggling to read gain confidence by reading to our dogs. We’re in hospices and rehabilitation facilities, and we work in the courts with survivors of sexual and violent crime. TMH is taking its role as a health leader seriously by helping people throughout the community.

What has this endowment meant to you?

PATTY: It’s heightened our gratitude for having had time with Rikki and for everything we learned through her. We’re also thankful that we can continue to have an impact with our new therapy dog, Sharon.

Why is giving back important to you?

PATTY: I was at an event with Chuck and the speaker said something that resonated with me: “There are three types of people: People who live in the community, people who live off the community and people who live for the community.” Chuck and I did not have  children.  We  have  each  other,  we have our animals, and we both came to each other at a point and realized that we were both wed to our community.

 

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