“Furlough Ends for our Furry Friends!” Henry Mayo Newhall Hospital welcomes back the Pet Therapy Pups! The Pet Therapy Program was forced to temporarily halt its services due to the COVID-19 pandemic. Patients, doctors, nurses and staff have all missed the loyal pups who provide unconditional love, comfort, and compassion to patients battling life-threatening illnesses, to staff who are experiencing personal life challenges, or to anyone who is uplifted by the site of a happy dog! The Pet Therapy volunteers will be on campus once a month- socially distancing of course- outside of the hospital’s main entrance. While visitors are still limited, the staff and the physicians enjoy the “puppy love,” and we all look forward to when these important health partners can roam our halls, spreading joy to patients in the future.
Sandy and Duchess
The Pet Therapy Program is part of the hospital’s Volunteer Services Department. The program began in 2000 and over the years, nearly 100 pets (mainly dogs), have participated. There is a vetting process for all potential candidates including a “must pass” Pet Partners Handler’s Course.
The next step is to submit a volunteer application to the hospital. If selected, an interview with the handler, orientation with the dog, along with several visits with a current Henry Mayo Newhall Hospital Volunteer Pet Partner Handler soon follow. This is a very rigorous process and unfortunately some dogs are unable to qualify due to the constant abrupt noises and smells that exist within the hospital environment. The pets that are able to rise to the challenge are significant gifts that benefit our entire medical community.
The Pet Therapy dogs who participate in the program are like family to the Henry Mayo Newhall Hospital Community. Sandy Dubin is one of the original Pet Therapy Volunteers who started at the program’s inception and is still currently active. Sandy has had eight dogs serve as volunteers. Noah was the first, then Teddy, Whiskey, Nash, Rosie, Batman, Reese and Duchess to follow. Sandy and her pups are a true “Legacy Family” and a testament of the success of this program.
For more information, please visit volunteer services.