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Dogs and Cats To Visit Hospital In Medical Garb To Highlight Need For Charitable Giving

Wednesday, November 26, 2008

West Allis, Wis. -- As the holidays near, people's thoughts often turn to needy families. But what about needy animals and how interactions with animals in general benefit society?

In an effort to help support the multi-faceted work of the Wisconsin Humane Society, employees at Aurora West Allis Medical Center are inviting dog, cat and human representatives from the shelter to visit the hospital's main lobby from 11 a.m. to 1:30 p.m. on Wednesday, Dec. 3. Some four-legged representatives will be in medical garb.

The event is aimed at garnering donations for the not-for-profit Wisconsin Humane Society through the Aurora Partnership Campaign, a vehicle that has provided millions of dollars in employee donations over the years to a variety of local non-profit and charitable organizations. As a non-profit itself, Aurora's mission includes contributing to the overall welfare of the communities it serves. The campaign highlights charitable giving by Aurora employees and makes donating easy.

"When I heard that the Wisconsin Humane Society receives no government funding, I thought this would be a great organization to highlight," said Jill Aschebrook, director of patient-centered care at the hospital. "We hope to let our caregivers know that in addition to the support the campaign provides to Aurora's own community efforts, such as feeding hungry families over the holidays, assisting sexual assault victims and helping the frail elderly through numerous outreach efforts, there are many outside organizations, such as the Wisconsin Humane Society, that they may support through the Partnership Campaign.

"And given that we have animal therapy and allow hospital visitation by patients' pets, we thought this would be a good fit."

In addition to its adoption program for companion animals and an extensive wildlife rehabilitation program, the Wisconsin Humane Society is involved in a number of efforts that also benefit the community. Recognizing the link between cruelty to animals and violence toward people, many of the programs are aimed at combating violence through education.

WHS provides programs to build empathy and self-esteem in at-risk, underserved youth and to combat domestic violence by promoting positive parenting. They also educate children about developing healthy relationships and provide outreach to children with an incarcerated parent in partnership with community mentors of those children and animals.

"We're honored that Aurora West Allis has chosen to highlight us in this way," said Victoria Wellens, executive director of the Wisconsin Humane Society. "Since our efforts really do help people and animals, we hope this will help save lives. It will also spread the message about how the Wisconsin Humane Society and Aurora care about giving back to the community."

Aurora Health Care is a not-for-profit Wisconsin health care provider and a nationally recognized leader in efforts to improve the quality of health care. Aurora offers services at sites in more than 90 communities throughout eastern Wisconsin.

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Linda Steiner

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