Providence, R.I. – Rhode Island Hospital and Hasbro Children’s Hospital announced today the 2021 Volunteer of the Year Award Winner is its Canine Assisted Therapy Program. This program has always been popular with both patients and staff. Eight (8) volunteer canines and their human companions devote their time making rounds visiting patients at both hospitals. They also attend some staff meetings, staff retreats, or visit a specific unit when there is a tough week.

Saul N. Weingart, MD, president, Rhode Island Hospital and Hasbro Children’s Hospital said, “Nothing brightens the day of a patient in therapy or staff member having a difficult day like the unconditional love of a cuddly canine. Our dog volunteers and their owners bring smiles wherever they go.”

Adrianne Walsh, manager of volunteer services at RIH/HCH said, “If you add up all the years and hours these volunteers and their owners have contributed over the length of their participation in the program, it totals 63 years and 1,631 hours! Sometimes, they drop everything to accommodate a special request when there is a critical need. Nights, weekends, it doesn’t matter. They have truly stepped up!”

The eight volunteer canine winners and their human companions are:

  • Tom and Helen Davis and their Golden Retrievers Amy and Patty (Rehoboth, MA)
  • Elizabeth Samson and her Labrador Jax (N. Smithfield, RI)
  • Tony Cadogan and his Labradoodle Rusty (Attleboro, MA)
  • Pat Cardi and her Newfoundland/Great Pyrenees Arthur (E. Greenwich, RI)
  • Melissa Davies and her Golden Retriever Jack Ryan (Mattapoisett, MA)
  • Jen Quinn and her Labrador Finn (Warwick, RI)
  • David Schechter and his Golden Retriever Moby (Providence, RI)

This year, the hospital also added awards for College Volunteer of the Year.

Makato Kobayashi was recognized as Rhode Island Hospital’s first College Volunteer of the Year. He is a junior, pre-med student at Brown University who lives in Brookline, Massachusetts. Since last summer, he drives to the hospital twice a week to volunteer while also attending school. He has volunteered 200 hours to date with our Patient Book Cart in the Lifespan Cancer Institute and Employee Comfort Cart in our Emergency Department. Makato is known for being dependable, rarely ever missing a shift. He is also known for his calming demeanor. Both staff and patients have shared they feel instantly relaxed after speaking with him - which is appreciated across the hospital.

Kaitlin Dobson was recognized as Hasbro Children’s Hospital’s first College Volunteer of the Year. She is a resident of Charlestown, Rhode Island. She also donates her time to making rounds through the hospital with the Comfort Cart offering snacks and other items to patients and their families. Additionally, she donates her time with Child Life on the inpatient floors, Surgical Services, the Tomorrow Fund Clinic, and the Aubin Center. She has over 300 hours to date. She will be attending Johnson & Wales University this fall to obtain her M.S. in Clinical Mental Health Counseling to become a Licensed Medical Health Counselor.


About Rhode Island Hospital

Founded in 1863, Rhode Island Hospital in Providence, R.I., is a private, not-for-profit hospital and is the principal teaching hospital of The Warren Alpert Medical School of Brown University. A major trauma center for southeastern New England, the hospital is dedicated to being on the cutting edge of medicine and research. It is home to Hasbro Children’s Hospital, the state’s only facility dedicated to pediatric care. Last year, Rhode Island Hospital received nearly $60 million in external research funding. For more information on Rhode Island Hospital, visit, follow us on Twitter @RIHospital or like us on Facebook.

About Hasbro Children’s Hospital

Hasbro Children’s Hospital in Providence, R.I., a part of the Lifespan health care system, is the premier pediatric facility for clinical care, research and education for Rhode Island and surrounding southeastern New England. A private, not-for-profit institution, it is the pediatric division of Rhode Island Hospital, the principal teaching hospital of The Warren Alpert Medical School of Brown University. Hasbro Children’s Hospital is designated as a Level 1 Pediatric Trauma Center by the American College of Surgeons (ACS).

Kelly Brennan

Senior Public Relations Officer
Rhode Island Hospital