Children, Dogs and Residents are Winning Combination
The pet therapy program, Paws and Reflect, at <?xml:namespace prefix = st1 ns = "urn:schemas-microsoft-com:office:smarttags" />AllianceCommunityHospital is proving to be very valuable in more ways than one.
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â€œWhen the pet therapy dogs come to ACH for a visit everyone benefits, from the patients, to visitors to the staff. These animals are non-threatening to the visitors â€“ they have no needles, pills or stethoscopes! And for the staff, it is a real stress reliever which translates into colleagues who are re-energized,â€ explains Marcy Todd, Volunteer Coordinator at the hospital.
The pet therapy group is also looking for ways to reach out to the community as well as maintaining their popular program at the hospital. A new venue for accomplishing this is the Read to Rover and a Resident program. This unique program will begin on Saturday, May 1st in the CommunityCareCenter of the hospital and will be held the first Saturday of each month thereafter from 10:30 a.m. until approximately 11:15 a.m.
This program will enable students to spend one-on-one time reading books they have chosen to bring with them to not only the resident, but also to the pet therapy dogs.
â€œI am working with several schools where the students read to the dogs, and it has helped the students in a variety of ways. The dogs are non-judgmental, so the child feels very comfortable. Adding the residents to the mix will not only provide some social interaction between the student and the resident, but the resident will also be providing positive reinforcement for the student,â€ explains Ruth DeFranco, a member of the Paws and Reflect pet therapy program.
The program will be limited to participation by 16 students in grades one through six. The students must enjoy being around dogs, have no allergies to them, and be comfortable spending time with the elderly. The students should also be in good health for each visit.
Each monthly session will last for approximately 45 minutes and students are encouraged to attend each monthly session for at least six months.
Parents/guardians will be required to sign a waiver for the student to participate, and they will also be required to stay during the reading session.
â€œWe are very excited to be able to offer students the opportunity to participate in this program. Anytime we can develop a program that will brighten the day for others, we feel we have accomplished what we are supposed to be doing. We see the benefits or this reading program far-reaching to both the students and the residents,â€ shares Todd.
For more ore information about the program and how enroll your child(ren) as a participant, please contact the volunteer department at 330-596-7821 by Monday, April 26th so that the appropriate information can be provided.