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Elmhurst Memorial Hospital seeks well-mannered, reliable dogs and owners for new therapy program

Elmhurst Memorial Hospital (EMH) is currently seeking volunteers to participate in Paws 4 Patients, a new animal-assisted therapy program that will be offered to patients beginning this summer. Animal-assisted therapy uses highly trained animals and handlers to help patients achieve specific physical, social, cognitive and emotional goals.

The Hospital has recently begun recruiting dogs and owners who are interested in becoming a part of this unique experience that brings comfort to patients by reducing their stress, pain, anxiety and blood pressure while increasing social interaction and communication.

EMH is seeking social, well-mannered and predictable dogs to participate. To be accepted into the program, dogs must be at least 1-year-old, be able to demonstrate proficiency in basic obedience and be up-to-date on inoculations (including rabies, distemper, leptospirosis, parvovirus and Boardetella). Dogs must have lived with their handlers for a minimum of six months. They also are required to be clean, with no sign of fleas, ticks or dermatitis and have proof of annual heartworm test. Once admitted to the program, dogs must be on flea protection year-round and have a bi-annual stool check. Dogs with allergies or hypothyroidism will not be permitted in the program. Dog handlers must be at least 18-years-old, dependable and prompt with good communication skills.

Those interested in volunteering for this unique program are asked to complete an online application that is available at www.emhc.org. Dogs who qualify will first go through temperament testing. Those who pass will then be admitted to a three-day training program and register through Bright and Beautiful Therapy Dogs, Inc.

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