LAVEEN (July 25, 2013) – Terri Carruthers hands out Life Savers while visiting volunteers and staff at the American Red Cross Grand Canyon Chapter’s offices in Phoenix. By now, she knows each person’s favorite flavors and leaves them on their desks if they aren’t there. Meanwhile, her therapy dog, ‘Lil Bit, wanders the office, wagging her tail and bringing smiles to everyone she comes across.
A Laveen resident, Carruthers has volunteered with the Red Cross since 1998 as a morale booster, giving people an opportunity to get their minds off disaster relief and offering a moment of fun in what might be a stressful day. Her first therapy dog was Lady Lace, and ‘Lil Bit has been with her the past 11 years, also joining Carruthers in stops at hospitals and rehabilitation centers around the Valley.
“We feel honored to serve the Red Cross,” said Carruthers, who is training Mr. Bandit, a Chiweenie that will eventually replace ‘Lil Bit. “We want to help the staff and let them know they are cared about.”
Sometimes, Carruthers’ trips to the Red Cross, on Wednesdays, are long. Other times, they’re short. Carruthers doesn’t visit to be an interruption, she said, but rather “to be an addition” to the work that’s being performed. “I’m glad to be a part of it,” she said. “And I’m glad they allow me to bring the dogs.”
About the American Red Cross:
The American Red Cross shelters, feeds and provides emotional support to victims of disasters; supplies about 40 percent of the nation’s blood; teaches skills that save lives; provides international humanitarian aid; and supports military members and their families. It’s a nonprofit organization that depends on volunteers and the generosity of the American public to perform its mission. The Grand Canyon Chapter, established in 1916, re-chartered in 1999 and expanded in 2003, ranks as the fifth-largest chapter nationally, serving the more than 5.1 million people in Apache, Coconino, Gila, La Paz, Maricopa, Mohave, Navajo, Pinal, Yavapai and Yuma counties. For more information on the Grand Canyon Chapter, please visit www.redcross.org/gcc, like us on Facebook at www.facebook.com/redcrossgcc or follow us on Twitter under the handle @RedCrossGCC.