Guffey 'hero dog' dies: Stacey Mae brought cheer, Teddy Bears to local patients

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Stacey Mae, a Greater Swiss Mountain Dog and winner of the 2011 Therapy Dog division of the American Humane Association Hero Dog Awards, died on Oct. 6. She lived with her owner Guffey resident Maria Mandel and was the inspiration behind the Teddy Bear Project.

Through Stacey Mae's personal Facebook page, http://www.facebook.com/StaceyMaeTBP, Mandel has collected thousands of Teddy Bears and other soft toys to give to patients in hospitals and nursing homes throughout the Pikes Peak region. While Mandel attended a school in Massachusetts, her parents Richard and Pam Mandel and Stacey Mae personally handed out the toys.

Just before this year's Hero Dog Awards ceremony, it was announced that 5-year-old Stacey Mae had died after choking on a dog biscuit. In her memory, fellow Hero Dog finalist Ricochet and actress Betty White have started a fundraiser. Proceeds will go to Betty White's Humane Heroes Club, which provides first aid, shelter and adoption services to animals affected by natural disasters and other catastrophic events. White will match the first $25,000 donated dollar-for-dollar.

For more information or to make a tax-deductible donation, visit http://www.surfdogricochet.com/Red%20Carpet%20Dress%20-%20Fundraiser.htm.

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