National Therapy Pet Day

Pet Therapy

Julie Coughlan and Scotch’s gift to staff at Bethany Children’s

When Julie Coughlan and her mini-golden doodle, Scotch, became a certified HALO Therapy Dog Team, Julie knew that Bethany Children’s was a place that could benefit from their visits. Julie’s niece had been a patient at the Hospital after a car crash that resulted in a traumatic brain injury.

“Bethany Children’s went above and beyond providing her with the best possible care she could have received,” Julie recalled. “I was not only impressed with the hospitals care, but with their attention to all the details that make the hospital feel like a fun, colorful, and inviting environment for its young patients.”

Julie also comes from a family of medical professionals and understands the stresses they can face, so she was excited about providing pet therapy to staff in a hospital setting. “While patients are the most vulnerable and in need of care and therapy, the staff is the primary reason that these patients recover from major accidents or medical conditions and may progress enough to become independent or recover completely. If it weren’t for their tireless effort and care, patients couldn’t receive the resources, education, care, and therapy they need to flourish,” Julie explained.

Watching Scotch brighten the employees’ day when he visits is hands down the biggest reward for Julie. “You can feel the change in mood and energy in the room when his little fluffy tail comes wagging in – it can’t help but bring a genuine smile to your face,” Julie shares.

For Scotch, the attention and belly rubs are great rewards, along with seeing Robert, his favorite security officer at Bethany Children’s. When Julie carries Scotch, he likes to reach out his paw to people as a way to “hold paws”. Besides being friendly and happy-go-lucky, Scotch is intuitive and can often tell which staff members need his attention and loving presence.

“Many times while working, he will select one person and lay at their feet or stand touching them in some way,” Julie says. “When he does this, those people have told me about a struggle that made them especially in need of his therapy that day. He has a sixth sense for sure – he knows who needs him most and will go straight to them.”

While staff at Bethany Children’s are so appreciative of the uplifting therapy that Julie and Scotch bring to the hospital, Julie is grateful for the opportunity.

“I feel so lucky to have become a part of such a special organization,” she shares. “I am proud to serve the community through such a unique and truly one-of-a-kind place and I hope Scotch gets to hold paws with each and every one of you. If you see us around the hospital, please don’t hesitate to say ‘hi’. It would be our delight to greet you.”

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