Getting a visit from a furry friend
STERLING – I've always heard that dogs are man's best friend.
It's just not been the case for me.
You see, I didn't grow up around dogs or have any family pets – other than a goldfish – when I was a kid. So I didn't develop that love for furry friends that many other children did.
I don't have a dog now, either, but I do come across them in stories I cover from time to time. This week was an example of that. I was assigned to cover a new program at CGH Medical Center called Love on a Leash.
My first interview was with Lauren Bishop, a program coordinator. She shared with me exactly what kind of dogs would be ideal for the program and gave me an idea of how it worked.
I then interviewed Sheila Brune, CGH’s director of service excellence. I learned a lot more about the benefits of spending time with a therapy dog. She shared with me evidence of patients who spent time with dogs then relied less on pain medications, felt less lonely and were less withdrawn.
I was amazed to hear that there were medical benefits to visits from a therapy dog. Something as simple as spending time with an animal can help make someone feel better.
Finally, I interviewed Janel Yordy, who helped pioneer the program at CGH with her little dog, Spike.
Janel had nothing but great things to say about the visits she and Spike made at a Rockford hospital. Some patients don't get any visitors but her and Spike.
On Tuesday, Janel stopped by the office with Spike. I knew I would be up for the visit, considering he is a very small, nonthreatening dog.
After just a few minutes with him, I was hooked, too. He is an adorable little pet that fits right in your arms. I even petted Spike, which was definitely a big step for me.
Seeing him and Janel together, it is easy to see how they can brighten someone's day, especially someone sick and in the hospital.
This is one program that I think the whole community can get behind. It lights up the eyes of patients and brings joy to dog owners, too. It was fun to write this story about man's best friend.
I got to write a story about dogs – something I wasn't sure I wanted to do. But it was definitely worth it. I wouldn't mind a visit from Spike any day.
Sauk Valley Media reporter Kiran Sood covers government and happenings in Sterling and Rock Falls. She can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org or at 800-798-4085, ext. 529.
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