Many patients and staff gathered Sept. 29 to say good bye and thank you to one of the most beloved therapy dogs at the hospital, Tank.
Tank, a rescue dog that was almost drowned as a wee pup, found his forever home 12 years ago with Chris Witschey of Wadsworth. Chris almost immediately found a job for the part Labrador retriever, part Rottweiler. For the past 10 years, Tank has been helping kids thrive during their rehabilitative therapy as a member of the Akron Children’s Hospital Doggie Brigade.
Brooke Tidd, 20, and her mother, Autumn, made a special trip to the hospital to say goodbye to Tank, who’s now sporting distinguished gray hairs in his muzzle. When Brooke was injured and suffered a stroke as a result of an accident a year ago, Tank was with her every step of her recovery.
“I learned how to do everything again with Tank,” said Brooke, who was wearing her 1001 Dalmatians shirt just for the occasion. “He helped me learn how to walk again. I like how much he can help people.”
The Tidds, of Cuyahoga Falls, presented Chris and Tank with a box of dog biscuits to help celebrate his retirement.
Tank has excelled as a therapy dog because of his special personality and his love of children.
“He’s gentle and he really listens to the kids,” said Chris. “He does what they tell him to do and that’s why the kids like him so much.”
You’ll still see Chris at the hospital five days a week with her other therapy dogs — Francis, Gracie and Handsome. But from now on, Tank will enjoy a dog’s life at home.
“It is time to just let him be a dog,” said Chris. “He’ll be happy he doesn’t have to have a bath every week.”