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Animal magnetism: Dog and pony show is great for our patients

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Doggie Brigade handler Chris Witschey has seen the power animals can have on hospitalized children.One of our brigade’s most dedicated handlers, Witschey has been bringing three dogs, two of which have special needs, to the hospital on a regular basis for the past 8 years.

Petie the Pony logged more than 90 hours of bedside care in 2012 [Photo Gallery]

Petie always leaves behind a stuffed replica of himself so patients can cherish his special visits

Petie the Pony may be short in stature, but he’s sure long on endurance.

Celebrating the Doggie Brigade’s 20th anniversary (that’s 140 in dog years)

Kayla visits a cancer patient at Akron Children's

Twenty years ago, Akron Children’s was the second hospital in the country to create a volunteer pet program, dubbed the Doggie Brigade. The program, patterned after a similar one at Denver Children’s Hospital, makes it possible for dogs to visit youngsters on our patient units and at special events.

Giddy Up! I found the perfect support group

Sue and Kim of Victory Gallop hold onto Baby Jude while he rides Petie the Pony

Since our journey with Baby Jude began, I have been invited to several support groups. (P.S. When you are repeatedly given a flyer listing a support group date and time, it just might be a hint that you should attend. Thank you, Help Me Grow Tim. You are nothing if not subtle.) I tried it. I […]

My son’s amazing “vacation” at Akron Children’s

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My son was just discharged today from Akron Children’s. Everyone there was amazing! They are so great with the kids. He had such a great time with all the attention and kindness shown by the staff that he didn’t even want to leave. He got to see Petie the Pony and got a visit from […]

Petie’s back in the saddle again

The kids go gaga for Petie

After a long winter hiatus, our patients welcomed Petie the Pony and his handlers at Victory Gallop with open arms. Today, Petie was mobbed by kids when he arrived at the nursing station in our school-age inpatient unit, all hankering to get their hands on a horse with which they can see eye to eye. […]