Rhea Bateman was in a familiar place and replaying a scene that has unfolded countless times in her 20 years at Akron Children’s Hospital as a volunteer with the Doggie Brigade.
She was stalled in a hallway crossroads on the third floor of the hospital. Her 17-month-old Bullmastiff, Clark, was on center stage. Everyone who wandered by was drawn to Clark, who genuinely loved the attention while simultaneously putting out a vibe of serenity not often found in a dog his size.
“It has always been the case that getting to and from my assigned floor often takes awhile,” Rhea said.
Clark is the eighth dog Bateman has blessed with the program. She’s not one for small dogs. Clark is her sixth Bullmastiff to complement two Great Danes who have participated in Akron Children’s Doggie Brigade.
“Each had a special magnetism all their own,” she said. “The Bullmastiffs with those faces, and many with those silly personalities; and the Danes, huge, stunningly beautiful, dignified, and so kind.”
Rhea added that she’s been fortunate to always have a dog at home who could pass the screening when one of her other dogs has had to retire.
“I even have some of the staff who remember certain dogs from many, years ago, who are now deceased,” she said. “The impact those dogs made. It is very rewarding for me, and makes me even happier that I can ‘share’ them.”
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