Where every dog can be a Saint!

Osteosarcoma Research

​The Gabriel Institute was founded after our St. Bernard friend, Gabe was diagnosed with canine osteosarcoma in January of 2007. The original and sole mission of the institute was to initiate and support research in the hope of finding a cure for bone cancer. Research to determine the best available treatment led to the realization that our 38 years of experience in designing and manufacturing components for delivering, sampling, and detecting trace components could be applied to devising equipment for localizing the delivery of concentrations of chemotherapeutic, radiochemical, and radiation therapies.

Also, in honor and recognition of the extraordinary dedication of search-and-rescue, assistance, and police dogs, The Gabriel Institute has helped service dogs diagnosed with osteosarcoma by making it possible for them to receive cutting-edge therapies.

​Over 10,000 dogs succumb to osteosarcoma each year. It is our hope that the tools and knowledge we develop in trying to prolong the comfort and lives of our pets will ultimately benefit the 400 children in the U.S. that are diagnosed with this vicious disease every year. For many years friends of Gabriel participated in the activities of the Jori Zemel Foundation as well as the Gabriel Institute sponsored 4 Paws Dog Walk.

Past collaboration includes support for oncology research with M.D. Anderson Children’s Hospital. Currently we are working in partnership with Texas Children’s Hospital’s pediatric cancer program.
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Therapy Dog Work

After Gabriel passed away, another St. Bernard, Revilo's Gratitude a.k.a Toby, came into our lives. We soon discovered that Toby was born to be a therapy dog. His calm demeanor and loving nature proved to be excellent for older adults and children alike. He was happiest when surrounded by little kids patting and hugging him. With over 900 visits to his name, Toby earned the AKC Therapy Dog Distinguished (THDD) title. During Toby’s life of nearly 10 years, he visited scores of nursing homes in the Gig Harbor, WA area, Mary Bridge Children’s Hospital in Tacoma, WA, as well as MD Anderson Children’s Hospital and Texas Children’s Hospital in Houston, TX. He also went on trips to Alta, Utah and visited the kids at the ski resort. Other therapy visits include trips to the Pittsburgh Conference, also known as Pittcon, in Chicago, New Orleans, Atlanta, and Orlando.

After seeing the joy, hope and happiness that Toby brought to people facing difficult health challenges in their lives, we decided to begin building a team of volunteers to help spread even more joy and create even more smiles. So we have added to our organization's mission to provide a framework and certification for people to provide pet therapy to others.

Though the Gabriel Institute is headquartered in Houston, Texas, we currently offer training and certification in Gig Harbor, WA. Our all-volunteer Board of Directors includes, Stan Stearns, Judy Stearns, and Julia Stearns. With over 50 years of raising and training St. Bernards, Stan Stearns also provides the training for prospective therapy dog teams.​

The Gabriel Institute is committed to bringing joy, happiness, comfort and healing to more people by increasing public awareness and access to pet-provided therapy. Our volunteer organization provides an accessible certification process that allows qualified therapy teams to provide effective pet-provided therapy services.
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