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SwedishAmerican’s Caring Canines Therapy Dogs Celebrate 20,000th Visit
December 13, 2012
The Caring Canines therapy dogs at SwedishAmerican Hospital first brought smiles to patients, guests and staff members on September 15, 2010. Starting with an initial group of five therapy dog teams visiting with patients in the Center for Mental Health, the Caring Canines now include 21 teams that visit 12 different areas of the hospital and clinics.
On December 12, one of the original therapy dog teams of Alicia McKinney and her almost seven-year-old English Labrador Retriever, Ben, marked the 20,000th visit made by the Caring Canines.
McKinney, a retired X-ray technician, notes that she loves to visit at the hospital almost as much as Ben does. In fact, sharing Ben with patients led her to train another one of her dogs, a yellow lab named Maria, to become a Caring Canine team member as well.
Ben’s love for his job was evident on this special milestone occasion when he visited with Johnny Marlowe, a patient in the Heart Hospital at SwedishAmerican. Marlowe stated that he loves dogs and thoroughly enjoyed a visit by a friendly, four-legged stress reliever.
Current members of the Caring Canines range from a seven-pound long-haired Chihuahua to a 110-pound black lab. Other breeds include shih tzus, Pekingese, an Australian Shepherd, Cavalier King Charles spaniel, border collie, Basset hound, Pembroke Welsh Corgi, English setter, golden retriever, boxer, Mexican hairless and dogs of mixed parentage.
The Caring Canines are always looking for new team members. If you would like more information, please contact Animal Assisted Therapy Coordinator Deb Schwarze at 779-696-2166 or firstname.lastname@example.org.
About SwedishAmerican Health System
SwedishAmerican is a not-for-profit, locally governed healthcare system, headquartered in Rockford, Illinois. The health system is comprised of two hospitals, 30 clinics, a home health care agency, a foundation, and has an exclusive affiliation with UW Health in northern Illinois.