Inova Loudoun Hospital announced it is expanding the hospital’s Child Life Team with a facility dog named Jeremiah. Jeremiah, a two-year golden retriever, will work primarily alongside the child life specialists in the pediatric ER and pediatric inpatient unit visiting the hospital’s youngest patients.
“We are always looking for additional ways to improve our patients’ experience and knew adding a dog to our staff would enhance their visit,” said Dr. Jill McCabe, Medical Director, Inova Children’s Emergency Room at Inova Loudoun Hospital. “Jeremiah supports the patients’ overall social, physical, and emotional development by minimizing their stress.”
Jeremiah has been training since he was eight weeks old with Hero Dogs, Inc. of Brookeville, MD, which trains service dogs to assist veterans with a wide range of disabilities, including PTSD and anxiety. Jeremiah is a specialist, trained to work in a healthcare environment. Although his official graduation isn’t until November, he has been working at the hospital and is quickly becoming one of its most popular employees. Jeremiah loves snuggling with patients and showing off his tricks, especially popping bubbles and giving high fives.
“Kids love dogs and associate them with comfort. In his short time here, Jeremiah is already making a difference with our pediatric patients. He’s allowing us to connect with kids like never before,” commented Child Life Specialist Allyson Halverson, Inova Loudoun Hospital.
Both the pediatric ER and inpatient unit have designated “dog free” patient rooms and areas that Jeremiah will not enter in order to keep these areas safe for allergic patients.