Akron Children’s Hospital Mahoning Valley is now accepting new applicants for its dog visitation program, called the Doggie Brigade™, at its Beeghly campus in Boardman.
All dogs must pass a thorough veterinary exam and behavioral screening process to be accepted into the program. Doggie Brigade team members are required to complete at least 26 hospital visits per year and are scheduled for weekly or biweekly visits with patients who have been cleared by their doctors. All individuals interested in becoming a Doggie Brigade volunteer this year must attend an informational session on March 16 and dog evaluation on April 20 in Akron.
“When a child is hospitalized, they may be facing a new and strange environment, which can heighten anxiety and raise blood pressure,” says Dr. LeRoy Eberly, lead hospitalist, Akron Children’s Hospital Mahoning Valley. “Research has shown that the presence of pets can have a positive impact on a person’s health and well-being. The Doggie Brigade has been a great source of comfort to many children and their families at a time of need.”
Current members of the Brigade in the Mahoning Valley include Sheba, a pug; Jack, a Lab mix; Kaya, a Belgian sheepdog mix; Silky, a golden retriever; Tank, a Newfoundland/retriever mix; Finnegan, a golden retriever; Yogi, a golden Lab mix; Tinsley, a bichon frisé; and Lucy, a Lhasa apso.
Akron Children’s Doggie Brigade at the hospital’s main campus is the oldest chapter in the country and currently has 75 canines and owners participating in the program.
To learn more about Akron Children’s Doggie Brigade or register for the program, visit https://www.akronchildrens.org/cms/doggie_brigade/ or call 330-746-8350 before March 16.
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