Professor is more than just a therapy dog.
In fact, in the 1.5 years he’s been working at Mount Sinai’s Kravis Children’s hospital, he has become a VIP employee.
Professor, whose full name is Professor Bunsen Honeydew, is a 3-year-old golden doodle and the first of the two facility dogs to arrive at Kravis. A three year grant of $350,000 from PetSmart Charities covers everything from veterinary care, grooming, food, trainers, Ubers, and the salary of the certified child life specialist he’s paired with.
Shortly after he arrived in March 2017, the hospital realized that one dog wasn’t going to be enough. So they procured Amos, another golden doodle, shortly afterwards. They’re both part of the Paws and Play program in Karvis’ Child Life and Creative Arts Therapy Department.
The main goal of child life is to facilitate psychosocial adjustment to hospitalization and illness. Kravis employs specialists in the ER, clinic, radiology wing, and inpatient units–which includes an intensive care unit. The specialists engage patients and their families in a variety of therapies and stress-reducing activities to decrease trauma and pain, and increase coping.
The largest children’s hospitals have been creating facility dog programs for the past 10 years, and Kravis was the first hospital in the New York metropolitan area to adopt this, according to Morgan Stojanowski, assistant director of the Child Life and Creative Arts Therapy Department.
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Before the golden doodle duo arrived at Mount Sinai, there was a pet assisted therapy program in place. It serves as a completely separate program from the facility dog program and is run through the volunteer department at Mount Sinai.
Richard Schack, 65, has volunteered with his schnoodle Leia at Mount Sinai’s Union Square location for over 8 years. He was part of a study funded by Pfizer Animal Health in 2015 that showed the positive effects therapy dogs had on patients’ emotional and social well being.
“You made my day, Leia,” 65-year-old patient Yolanda Fajardo said as she scooped the tiny dog onto her lap. Fajardo loves getting visits from Leia while she’s waiting to receive cancer treatment. “I took a picture of Leia, and someone asked if she was my dog and I said yes, basically.”
Leia is certified and insured by the Good Dog Foundation, and to ensure that she’s clean and safe for patients, she gets a bath the night before visiting the hospital.
Schack and Leia visit every Wednesday for a couple of hours, during which they make rounds in the radiology waiting room, chemotherapy suite, and administrative staff offices. During these years, Leia has become a fabric of the staff, and her presence has made such an impact that some patients have changed their treatment schedules just so they can see her, said Alison Snow, assistant director of cancer supportive services at Mount Sinai Union Square. Mount Sinai has …read more
Source:: Business Insider