Take a 'paws' to congratulate George!

George holding his black and white therapy cat, Junior.

Salem Hospital pet therapy volunteer George Piter was honored with the Oregon Humane Society’s Diamond Collar Hero award on Feb. 20. He’s logged about 2,500 hours generously sharing the comforting presence of his therapy cats during his 13 years here.

It all started with Maggie, a stray who followed George and his wife, Karen, home from a walk one day. He sensed she had a special gift, and she became his teacher, igniting a passion that led to three more cats joining the family (Junior, Leo and Squeak), all trained and certified through Pet Partners. He trades them off for hospital shifts several times a week, plus visits hospice patients and care homes.

George is never in a hurry. He can’t be, with so many fans stopping to pet the kitties he’s carrying in his front pouch as he walks through a lobby, leaving comfort in his wake. (He’s also very sensitive to allergies and knows how to skirt the non-fans.)

Take two minutes and watch the Oregon Humane Society’s video about this inspiring gentleman.

Join us in congratulating George — and his cats!