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Love on a leash seeking recruits

Posted: Tuesday, Jan 22nd, 2013

Founded in 2012, the CGH Love on a Leash program currently includes 15 dogs and their owners. Pictured here are nine of the dogs that volunteer at CGH. Front row, Iggy, Otis, Sadie, Spike. Back row, Piper, Tex, Henry, Heidi, and Nora Lee. Not pictured are: Cally Lanae, Deuce, Fletcher, Gracie, Libby and Peanut.

STERLING - Are you and your dog looking for a meaningful way to volunteer together in the community? CGH Medical Center is recruiting well-trained, well-mannered dogs - and their humans - for its Love on a Leash animal-assisted therapy program. As part of this program, therapy dogs and their owners visit the hospital to bring comfort to patients, helping reduce stress and pain levels, while also improving patient/staff communication.

Temperament testing to determine if canine candidates meet the specific requirements of the program is scheduled from 8:30 to 11:30 a.m., and 12:30 to 3:30 p.m., on Saturday, Feb. 9, in the CGH Ryberg Auditorium, 100 E. LeFevre Road, Sterling.

The cost of the temperament training is $30 (tax deductible) and pre-registration is required. Dogs (and their owners) that pass temperament testing must then be able to attend a mandatory training program at the hospital Friday and Saturday, March 22 -23. During this training, mock and trainer-supervised patient visits, and a briefing on hospital policies and infection control practices will prepare teams for hospital visits.

To be considered, dogs must meet the following requirements:

Consistently performs sit, stay, recall and down on command without treats;

Walks at your side, loosely on a leash, without pulling;

Is at least one year of age;

Gets along well with other dogs;

Loves people;

Is not overly vocal;

Handles stress well;

Is current on all vaccinations; and

Is free of skin problems.

To pre-register, or for questions, please call Sheila Brune at 815-625-0400, ext. 4472 or visit www.cghmc.com/dogs.

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