Therapy dogs return to Lincoln hospital

Published: Sep. 10, 2021 at 11:42 AM CDT
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LINCOLN, Neb. (KOLN) - Along with the doctors, nurses and all of the people who help save lives and keep Lincoln healthy at CHI Health St. Elizabeth, are therapy dogs Envy and Brandy.

“You should see the effect they have when they come in any unit, the effect they have on the staff,” Amber Cleland, pediatric nurse said.

The therapy dogs were welcomed back recently into most patient rooms, with the exception of critical care units and the COVID-19 unit, after they couldn’t come for months because of the pandemic.

“Brandy missed it and I missed it,” Bill Lewis, who owns Brandy said.

Lewis said he and Brandy walk from room to room, greeting staff and patients. “She gets tons of pets as we go along, everywhere we go,” Lewis said.

The Volunteer Services Supervisor, Leanne Miller, says in addition to making a big impact on staff, the therapy dogs help out a lot with the hospital’s youngest patients. Miller said once she found a young girl crying about having to get an IV, and Envy helped calm her down.

“We put Envy up on the bed and within just a few minutes of petting her she was calm and stopped crying,” Miller said. Cleland said this can be critical. “It’s a big step for us to have access to a therapy dog to even do the littlest procedures,” Cleland said.

The hospital is always recruiting new volunteer therapy dogs, if you’re interested visit the CHI Health St. Elizabeth website.

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