The Cincinnati Children’s Volunteer Dog Visit Program began in 1993 and has grown into one of our largest Volunteer Services opportunities available. Together with their owners, the volunteer dogs have brought joy to many patients, their families and staff. The Volunteer Dog Visit Program was put on hold in March 2020 due to Covid, but a year later Lucy was the first dog to come back to the hospital when dog visits for staff and patients resumed this past spring.
Lucy is a miniature Australian golden doodle. She is 13 years old. Lucy and her handler (Joy) visited our Radiology Department this week to put a smile on everyone’s faces.
Working in Radiology can sometimes be a stressful job with meeting deadlines, making sure reports and diagnoses are on time and correct, allowing outside referring physicians to speak to our radiologists, scanning anxious patients, contacting insurance companies, keeping our PACS system up and running, and so on. It’s not surprising that interacting with dogs tends to produce positive emotional responses. As the volunteer walked around the department with Lucy, our faculty and staff were given an excuse to just stop and take a break from what they were doing. Lucy was always meet with a smile and the temptation to pet and hold her.
From casual observation, one could conclude that seeing and interacting with a service pet aids in psychological therapy, providing emotional support and comfort to people under stress. Over the past several years, Cincinnati Children’s staff have worked diligently to create a less stressful work environment, setting measures to decrease the number of work-related injuries and guiding various outlets of wellness support to fruition.
Contributions by Dianne Hater, author, Patient Advocate; Glenn Miñano, editor; Meredith Towbin, copy editor