The Children’s Specialized Hospital, part of the RWJBarnabas Health Children’s Health network, is welcoming its newest facility therapy dog, Bear, to its Toms River Long Term Care facility.
CSH’s fourth full-time facility dog, Bear is a nearly 2-year-old golden retriever whose first day on the job will be Aug. 23. He will work with his handler, Heidi Spiegel, a board-certified behavior analyst to provide special “dog therapy” to residents, their families, and staff members, according to CSH.
Bear was raised at the nonprofit Patient Paws Service Dogs Inc. training facility in Alpharetta, Ga. His funding was provided by John and Valerie Maglione and family and Mickey’s Kids Charitable Foundation. Mickey’s Kids has also partnered with NorthStar VETS in Robbinsville to cover all of Bear’s vets bills – for life.
According to CSH, data has shown that dogs greatly benefit patients and their families. For example, interacting with dogs has been shown to have a regulatory effect on blood pressure, lower respiration rates, and reduce the amount of pain medication patients require. Dogs can also increase physical and mental stimulation and motivation, according to CSH.
In May, the Children’s Specialized Hospital unveiled the renovated Pediatric Long Term Care Unit at CSH Mountainside. Click here to see photos.