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Front, from left: Lynne Robinson of PAWS for People with Sundance; Chase and Kallie Pinto, Bill Denney of Newton One. Standing, from left: Paul Rosen, MD, of Nemours; Jason, Gracie and Megan Pinto; Tom Hollinger of Newton One and his wife, Joanne; and Nemours Associate Administrator Ed Woomer.
When Tom Hollinger and Bill Denney, partners at Newton One LLC, a financial consulting firm, heard about the opportunity to make a real difference for patients at Nemours/Alfred I. duPont Hospital for Children through pet therapy, they jumped at the chance. “We are delighted to fund this program,” said Hollinger on a recent tour of the outpatient lab with a pet therapy team from PAWS for People and the Pinto family of Norristown, PA. “It’s clear the impact it’s having here.” Denney added: “It’s obvious everyone loves the therapy dogs, and very gratifying for us to witness.”
For the Pinto’s, visits to the hospital are like night and day since therapy dogs entered the picture. Gracie, age 6, and 3-year-old twins Kallie and Chase, are no longer afraid of having blood drawn thanks to the warm and gentle presence of therapy dogs in the outpatient lab. “Pet therapy has changed my kids’ outlook about coming to the hospital, “said Megan Pinto. “The amount of love and compassion the dogs show my children is truly amazing. Our experience has been phenomenal.”
The Pinto family is just one of many who have welcomed the comforting presence of pet therapy teams at duPont Hospital for Children.
- As a result of Newton One’s commitment, hundreds of children and families have received therapeutic pet visits.
- Early in 2014, there are 23 active dog/owner teams visiting regularly, with several new teams scheduled to come on board soon.
- The pet therapy teams cover inpatient units, including intensive care, as well as the outpatient clinics, emergency department, day medicine, lab, hospital-based school and therapy services.
- In addition to scheduled “rounds,” pet therapy visits can be arranged by special request.
Another grateful parent remarked: “My son was very nervous when he woke up (from anesthesia), he was confused and asking for his dog. The nurse stepped away for a moment and the next thing I knew, one of the furry volunteers was there at my son's bedside! He was very pleased and excited by that and I am thankful that the nurse was paying attention, made that connection and helped him feel more at ease by bringing the dog in. It was a nice surprise and is just one of the reasons why I love this hospital!”