Highly trained facility dogs provide service and care – Lexington-Fayette, Kentucky

Lexington-Fayette, Kentucky 2022-06-30 11:34:59 –

You’ve probably heard of therapy dogs — trained to provide comfort and support. But what about the dogs in the facility? They are specially raised and trained to work full-time at the facility under the care and supervision of staff.

“She comes to work with me every day. As long as I work, Tyra works,” said Megan, a certified child life expert at Rush University Medical Center.・ Heartnet said. “She has been trained throughout her life to serve others.”

Tyra is a 2-year-old Labrador retriever who recently joined the Pediatric ICU at Rush University Medical Center in Chicago. She is part of a new facility dog ​​program made possible by a grant from the Dogs for Joy Program of the Dunkin’Joy in Childhood Foundation.

“She meets the patient and provides comfort and support like a therapy dog, but unlike a therapy dog,” says Heartnet.

As a service dog, Tyra has the interventions and goals that accompany any patient she sees.

It took 18 months of professional training for Tyra to learn about 40 commands.

“If a patient struggles to get the motivation to walk after surgery, we can give physiotherapy and motivate the patient to get up and walk in the corridor,” Hartnet said.

She can also open and close doors and drawers, press elevator buttons, turn lights on and off, and eject objects.

“One of the things we want from our dogs is what role they play,” said Adrena Spreacker, Regional Training Manager at Canine Companions.

Nonprofits have been training service animals for nearly 50 years.

“They all have their strengths and all have their weaknesses,” says Spreacker. “So, do we look at them and at that point really decide where and best to use this dog’s strengths?”

Training starts early. At 8 weeks of age, puppies, Labrador retrievers, golden retrievers, or mixes are destroyed by a family of volunteers.

After returning to one of the six training centers for 18 months, they will eventually be paired with the staff of the facility where they will work.

“We trained for about eight hours from Monday to Friday and then graduated together as a team, so we were able to learn a lot at once,” says Heartnet.

Tyra lives and works with a staff partner. When it’s her time, she wears a blue vest as her work clothes.

“When we get home and take off our vest, she’ll be a little more like a puppy and a little more energetic for at least five minutes, and she’s like,” OK, I’m done. ” ..

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