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March 5, 2013 – Wanted: More Dogs to Visit Kids at USA Children’s & Women’s Hospital
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Pediatric patients at the University of South Alabama Children’s & Women’s Hospital look especially forward to Tuesdays and Thursdays.  That’s when the hospital’s “Pet Therapy” program pays a visit. 

Every Tuesday and Thursday afternoon, specially trained dogs are escorted room-to-room to see the youngsters and brighten their day.  However, with the number of hospitalized children increasing and the expansion of the visits to twice weekly, there’s a need for more dogs to join the Pet Therapy program at Children’s & Women’s. 

“Pet therapy is a winning program for patients and their families, our staff and volunteers, and the community as a whole,” Belinda Baggett, director of volunteer services at USA Children’s & Women’s Hospital, said.  The program is operated through the hospital’s Volunteer Services department and coordinated through the Mapp Child and Family Life Program at Children’s & Women’s.

Dogs and their handlers must be screened by the hospital.  The dogs must have successfully completed obedience training and the requirements of Pet Partners Inc., formerly Delta Society, must be met.  Interested participants should visit Pet Partners’ Web site, www.petpartners.org.  For more information about volunteering at USA Children’s & Women’s Hospital, visit www.usahealthsystem.com/usacwh and click on Volunteering, or call 415-1123.

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