Wendy YellinEach week, Wendy Yellin can be found visiting patients at Edward Hospital with a golden retriever at her side, one of four she’s had in the Animal Assisted Therapy program. When she began volunteering 11 years ago, she and her husband Norm were in the middle of raising three great kids. Since then, some things have changed. Her beautiful children have grown and, in 2009, Norm suddenly passed away on a trip to Alaska with both of their sons.

Wendy felt devastated by the loss of her husband. Since then, her healing has come from many places, but little did she know, much of it would come from her connection to Edward. While she always viewed her volunteer work as a way to give back, she didn’t expect how much she would gain. She gets an inside look at a an expert staff of medical professionals, and she witnesses how the presence of a gentle dog brings smiles, words and a flood of emotions to anxious patients. "Every visit opens me up even more. The dog is the conduit—the bridge to someone’s heart," Wendy said.

Recently, Wendy decided to give back in another way with her decision to include Edward in her estate plan. Grateful to Edward for having the vision to bring therapy dogs into the hospital, and thankful for the compassionate caregivers who bring hope and healing to patients, Wendy’s generous gift will ensure Edward remains a leading hospital for generations to come.