Zachary's Paws For Healing has been formed as the lasting legacy of Zachary Noble and to provide much-needed companion pet visits with hospital patients.
Before Zachary died, he developed a plan to work with Juravinski Hospital to provide companion pet visits. After Zachary's death, his aunt and constant caregiver, Donna Jenkins picked up the banner and made it her goal to make Zachary's Paws For Healing a reality.
Juravinski Hospital immediately came on board and they worked to bring all the hospital executives, medical staff, infection control and volunteer services together to develop policies and procedures for our team to facilitate these visits.
It has been proved through studies that companion pet visits lower hospital patient's stress levels, improves vital signs, improves communication between the patient and the medical staff and reminds the patient there is a reason to get well and return home. The visits are also a stress reliever for the pets who may be suffering from separation anxiety due to their owner being hospitalized.
Zachary's Paws For Healing is the first and only organization in Canada to offer companion pet visits to patients using this type of program. Therapy dogs have been used for several years now, but companion pet visits are not widely accepted in hospitals. We hope for that to change with Zachary's Paws For Healing and Juravinski Hospital leading the way.
In addition to providing the companion pet visits, Zachary's Paws For Healing will be providing patients foster care for their pets on a case-by-case basis. We know that there are patients who have refused lifesaving cancer treatments because they
did not have anyone to care for their pet. Additionally, we don't want any senior patients to part with their pet because of an illness or extended hospital stay. Zachary's Paws For Healing is prepared to foster these pets and make sure their owners get regular visits while they are in the hospital.
We are entirely a volunteer group that serves the patients 24 hours a day, 7 days a week. If you are interested in volunteering, please click here.
Zachary Noble grew up in Nova Scotia and was raised by his loving grandparents. When his grandparents passed away, he moved to Ontario and lived with his Uncle Lyle and Aunt Donna. He finished high school at St. Jean De Brebeuf Catholic High School. He made many lasting friendships while at Brebeauf High School.
Zachary was outgoing and loved practical jokes and spending time with his friends. He found great joy in playing video games, reading, going to Comic-Con Conventions and spending time with his dogs. Zachary had a loving and caring nature and always wanted the people around him to be happy. He had a special ability to empathize with others and to understand their situations.
When Zachary was diagnosed with Hodgkin's Lymphoma at 23 years old, we were all shocked but Zachary decided he would not be burdened with fear or sadness. He wasn't angry. He wanted to be an example of how to manage all the chemo treatments and to be a supportive and willing patient. His medical team fell in love with him and he loved all of them back.
Unfortunately, Zachary had a very aggressive form of Hodgkin's and he was resistant to chemo and radiation. The much hoped for stem cell transplant was not successful. Zachary spent many weeks in and out of the hospital. During that time, he longed to see and hold his favorite dogs. The care and affection of his medical team at Juravinski made those visits possible. His first visit was while in ICU for a week. Only two days after his visit with Chase, Zachary was feeling good enough to ask to be moved back to the Hematology floor. When he got to the Hematology floor he asked to see his favorite puppy from our last litter, Effi. Effi made her visit to him and remarkably two days later Zachary was feeling good enough to go home. We watched the change that visits with his dogs made in his stress level, his desire to get well enough to go home and his overall happiness.
Zachary was a unique and special young man. He had insights that were more mature than his years. He had compassion for others. He knew how to give his life meaning and he truly believed in Patient/Companion Pet visits.
Zachary passed away on November 28, 2014. With him as our inspiration and feeling his guiding hand on our shoulders, we have made Zachary's Paws For Healing his lasting legacy.