Submitted By Karen Saunders, HDOC For the last eight years, Hollywood Dog Obedience Club (HDOC)...
Submitted By Karen Saunders, HDOC
For the last eight years, Hollywood Dog Obedience Club (HDOC) members and their dogs have visited USC/Verdugo Hills Hospital on a weekly basis as the hospital’s therapy dog team. Club members began visiting the Geriatric/Psych unit in 2006, and since then, the program has expanded throughout the hospital. Dogs now go room to room meeting patients, greeting staff and comforting families that are visiting their loved ones at the facility.
Staff members in the geriatric unit use visits from the dogs to prompt the patients to get up and get dressed. The dogs can often encourage depressed patients to smile or get out of bed to say hello.
Through the years a variety of dogs from the club have participated in the program, including Poodles, Labrador Retrievers, Golden Retrievers, German Shepherd Dogs and All-American mixed breed dogs. The current team making visits is made up of several Doberman Pinschers, Miniature American Shepherds, a Briard, a Clumber Spaniel and two All-American dogs, including an original team member since 2006. The dogs rotate their visits, with one visiting every week for up to two hours.
For the past four years, members who are not traveling on Christmas have met at the hospital (with dogs in their holiday finery!) for a special visit with staff and patients. The dogs become celebrities, and the hospital staff love to bring their own cameras to take photos of themselves with their canine friends. It makes a special Christmas Day for all concerned.
(L-R) Wiley Hunt, USC/Verdugo Hills Hospital contact point for therapy dogs and director of activities Geriatric/Psych; Karen Saunders and Elan; Ann de Toth and Essex; Dave Snyder and Jenna; Jerry Werk and Phillipe; Janet Snyder and Piper; John Saunders and Quatsch; Daphne Bell and Muneca; and Jody Davidson and Nedward, Josie and Maisie.
Dressed in their holiday collars and finery, Hollywood Dog Obedience Club therapy dogs and handlers visit USC/Verdugo Hills Hospital (L-R) Karen Saunders and Quatsch, Sandy Driscoll and Gunner, Ann de Toth and Essex, Janet Snyder and Piper and Dave Snyder and Jenna.