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Patients at Florida Hospital Fish Memorial Get to Pet Pooches

ORANGE CITY, FL—July 2, 2010 — ORANGE CITY, FL— For many, the bond with a pet can be just as strong as with a family member or friend, and having to leave that pet behind during a hospital stay can be lonely for patients. Recognizing the need and benefits of pet companionship, Florida Hospital Fish Memorial has partnered with Caring Canines, a dog therapy organization that brings pooches to patients.

The program kicked off on June 12 when eight specially trained pooches and their trainers gathered in the hospital lobby before making rounds to visit patients. The response was immediate and well received by patients and visitors. “I have a 96 year old patient and his face just lit up when that dog came into visit him in his room. It made him so happy,” commented one nurse. Patients aren’t the only ones who are excited to see the pooches, “This is such a neat program. I want to work every Saturday now,” commented another nurse. Not only does Caring Canines bring a welcomed change to daily routines, the use of therapy dogs has shown to help relieve loneliness and depression as well as lower blood pressure and heart rate.

“Visitation during the healing process is important and isn’t limited just to family and friends now that we’ve established a partnership with Caring Canines. We are pleased to offer this service to our patients and hope that it will enhance our care and help their recovery,” said Jennifer Shull, chief nursing officer at Florida Hospital Fish Memorial.

Caring Canines will make visits each Saturday from 1 – 4pm. Fish Memorial staff and community members are invited to participate with Caring Canines and can sign up for training classes. For more information, please contact Ryna Lavalle at (352) 406-9999.



Photo Caption: Patient Wanda Sanchez with Caring Canine Misty and Handler Mary Ellen Early