In 2009, we partnered with Children’s Healthcare of Atlanta (CHOA) to create a new and groundbreaking community service dog program and it has now grown nationwide. Through our collaborative efforts, we now have 18 dogs, who live with full-time employees of Scottish Rite and Egleston Children’s Hospital, and go to work every day to different departments within the hospitals, providing special dog-therapy to patients, their families, and staff members alike.
Due to partnerships such as the one between Canine Assistants and CHOA, medical personnel now understand the incredible benefits of community service dogs – from stabilizing blood pressure to reducing the pain, anxiety, and fear suffered by patients. Dogs are proving every day that they are among the very best medicine modern science has to offer. Our community service dogs’ gentle nature and calm demeanor allow patients, that maybe too fragile or afraid to participate in current programs, to experience animal assisted therapy.
Canine Assistants Community Service Dogs are unique in that, unlike normal Therapy Dog Programs, our dogs are allowed special access to patients in almost all areas of the hospital. In fact, the hospitals where our dogs currently reside recognize the dogs as staff members. Their specialized teaching and calm disposition means that they are able to visit patients that would not be eligible for normal Therapy Dog programs. The dogs handlers, who are taught by Canine Assistants, are employees of the hospitals/facilities. Many are Child Life Specialists, but we also have handlers who are Nurses, Doctors, and Chaplains.
We now have over 80 facility dogs placed around the country.