Akron Children's Mahoning Valley launches pooch program
Akron Children’s Hospital Mahoning Valley has launched a dog visitation program for its patients, called Doggie Brigade, at its Beeghly campus.
“Several studies have found that the presence of pets can have a positive influence on our health,” says Dr. LeRoy Eberly, lead hospitalist, Akron Children’s Hospital Mahoning Valley. “Specifically this could mean lessening anxiety and lowering blood pressure. For children, helping them relax, improving their mood and lifting their spirits while in the hospital setting is very important to their overall wellbeing.”
Current members of the Brigade in the Mahoning Valley include Jack, a Lab mix; Kaya, a Belgian Shepherd mix; and, Yogi, a Lab/Golden cross.
Each of the dogs has passed strict physical and behavioral requirements. Weekly or biweekly visits are scheduled with patients who have been cleared by their doctors to receive these four-legged friends. Whether they are by a sick child's bed, roaming the hallway or in the activity rooms, the Doggie Brigade dogs are good medicine for kids – bringing big smiles and a great deal of comfort.
Akron Children's Doggie Brigade at the hospital’s main campus is the oldest chapter in the country and currently has 95 canines and owners participate in the program.