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- State Roundup: Governor signs budget fix bills
- Rauner, Democratic leaders shake hands and make law
- State roundup: National guardsman and cousin arrested in terror plot
- Lawmaker says license plate readers a privacy threat
- Bryant not the first to feel impact of free agency rules
- State Roundup: Parents’ group calls for standardized test opt-out bill
- Hononegah Mack: ‘The best woman in the county’
- The tip of the iceberg: Human trafficking in America
- State Roundup: House passes proposal to fill current fiscal year budget gap
SwedishAmerican celebrates first anniversary of Caring Canines program
SwedishAmerican is celebrating the first anniversary of its Caring Canines animal assisted therapy program.
Beginning with six therapy dogs and handler teams in one hospital unit (Mental Health), the Caring Canines program has nearly quadrupled in size in just one year. Visits now include 21 dogs who see patients on the third, seventh, eighth and 10th floors of SwedishAmerican Hospital, the third and fourth floors of the Heart Hospital and guests in the second-floor Surgical and Cath Lab waiting areas.
From the smallest pediatric patients to those who are frail and elderly, the Caring Canines team brings smiles and comfort to all.
“I am blessed and honored to be able to accompany the volunteers and their dogs on all of these visits,” said Animal Assisted Therapy Coordinator Deb Schwarze, MS, MA, LCPC. “It’s a very special place to be. We can enter a hospital room and give unconditional love and acceptance. We give smiles and hope.”
The Caring Canines, which include everything from a 6-pound longhaired Chihuahua to a 180-pound Great Dane, have made contact with more than 8,000 patients, staff members and guests.
The dogs range in age from the just over a year-old pup to the “mature” ones that show a little gray around the eyes and muzzle.
SwedishAmerican promotes the Caring Canines in many ways. “Visiting Today” posters notify staff and visitors about which dogs will be “making rounds.” In addition to having their own informational cards with key facts, the dogs wear official ID badges, complete with photos and the designation of “volunteer.” Crossing signs in hospital hallways also notify others that man’s best friends are nearby.
Moving forward, SwedishAmerican looks forward to the continued growth of this meaningful program.
From the Oct. 19-25, 2011, issue