Where it began.
Pets for Patients started when Carol connected with the neuro-oncology team at Cincinnati Children's Hospital Medical Center.
As part of family centered care at CCHMC, attending to medical needs goes hand in hand with the psychosocial challenges. The dedicated staff had begun to notice that many times when a child and their family face an oncology diagnosis there is a canine or feline member of the family that plays a central role in providing care. The team had two families in search of a pet: for one, the family dog had just passed away; for the other, the family simply couldn't afford a pet in addition to treatment. The oncology team investigated therapy dogs for each of these patients, but the extensive fund-raising, family training and long waiting lists made accomplishing this task in a timely way impossible. For the families, a therapy dog felt like an immense undertaking during a critical time in their child’s illness. After arriving at this conclusion, the team connected with Carol.
She assessed the patient and the family, matched an appropriate dog, arranged for any medical needs, secured food, toys, beds etc. – took care of all needs. In the end, the patients and families expressed that they not only felt they received a gift, but they knew that they had rescued a dog. Within the community of a family, hospital and Carol a wonderful collaboration began.
One pet led to another, and in 2016 Pets for Patients officially became a nonprofit.
Founder & President
Carol is a lifelong animal lover. At 15, she qualified and showed her Great Dane, Lady, at the Westminster Dog Show. She co-chaired the 2015 and chaired the 2016 SPCA Fur Ball, and has previously volunteered with Pets In Need. Carol is also a former Zoofari committee member and a retired member of Clifton Kindervelt. Today, she and husband Paul share their Clifton home with two rescues dogs, Duke and Nara and two rescue cats, Pippa and Wally.
Chris Plecha, M.D.
Dr. Plecha earned a B.A. in French Literature at Duke University and her medical degree from Case Western Reserve University. She completed her residency at University Hospitals of Cleveland. She currently lives in Mt. Adams with her husband and dog.
Cheif operating officer
Amy is the VP Corporate Development at Rhinestahl Corporation and has worked for AAA, Ethicon Endo-Surgery, Cincinnati Bell and F+W Media. Amy and her husband Greg Johnson are animal lovers and have rescued countless kitties near their home in Maineville. Amy Chaired the 2015 SPCA Cincinnati Fur Ball and is a dedicated supporter of Mother Mayflower's Animal Haven.
Meggie, along with her mom, Carol, co-founded Pets for Patients in 2015. Meg helped with many of Pets for Patients first matches. Meggie’s first job after graduating from the University of Cincinnati was within Cincinnati Children’s Hospital Behavioral Medicine Division, which led to graduate studies in pediatric clinical psychology. Today, she is a manager with Deloitte Consulting, LLC.
Thank you to our founding volunteers:
Dr. Barbara Boat
Pam Lowe Cho
Sarah Boat Forman
Kevin & Mindi Huber
Mary Kay Fields-Leven
Dr. Edith Markhoff
Awards & Grants
Mary Pat Pace
Pets for Patients is honored to be nominated and to have a received a number of awards and grants. With the generous support and recognition from other organizations, we are able to continue our mission of providing love, hope and healing.