Jane Ritter of Denver, Colo. is very proud of her career change dog, black Lab Keifer. Keifer recently won a Colorado's Animal Heroes Award in the Human-Animal Bond category. The award was given by the Colorado Veterinary Medical Foundation for Keifer's work at an alcohol and drug rehabilitation facility that he visits weekly.
Here's a portion of one of many nomination letters for Keifer, along with some photos of him at the awards ceremony:
Keifer is a loving, black lab, who visits patients every week at the Center for Dependency, Addiction and Rehabilitation (CeDAR) at the University of Colorado Hospital. During the early stages of addiction recovery, many of our patients suffer from loneliness and fear in addition to the often painful physical and emotional symptoms that accompany the detoxification process.
I have watched Keifer while he interacts with patients: slowly and gently approaching each person with a wag of his tail and often a kiss. For our patients who are dealing with issues of low self esteem in their battles with addiction, this affirming contact with Keifer is often enough to change the course of their whole day. I have seen patients who rarely relax, or smile, or communicate with others, get down on the floor with Keifer and take in the unconditional acceptance that a loving dog such as Keifer can give. For many of our patients, this is a singular moment in their lives.
The patients and staff alike are grateful that Jane has brought Keifer to CeDAR to share his unbridled passion for life. Keifer truly acts as an example to many of our patients who do not know how to enjoy and embrace life. What could be a better lesson than seeing a dog roll in the grass with a big smile on his face?!
I speak for all the patients and staff at CeDAR and ask you to consider Keifer for the “Human-Animal Bond” Achievement Award. He is a blessing to many who suffer from the disease of addiction. (Written by Lorie Obernauer, CeDAR Alumni Liaison)
Kudos to Keifer for this honor! Keep up the good work!