WIFR: A Day in the Life of Rigatoni, One of Mercyhealth’s Therapy Dogs

Rigatoni, a golden retriever part of Mercyhealth’s Loving Tails Pet Therapy Program, took over the health system’s Twitter account to raise awareness about the important (and emotional) work he goes for the hospital. Rigatoni’s handler, Greta, takes him through the hallways to cheer up Mercyhealth visitors, employees and patients. Rigatoni will also make a special stop in the State of Illinois-Designated Children’s Hospital at Mercyhealth’s Javon Bea Hospital and Physician Clinic—Riverside to comfort some sick pediatric patients staying with us.

Loving Tails Pet Therapy started six years ago when a cancer patient couldn’t bring her dog to the hospital, so a nurse made an arrangement to bring her dog in to comfort her. The rest was history. The Loving Tails Pet Therapy Program is now run by volunteers who dedicate their time and dogs to help other people.

“Pet therapy really helps to reduce the anxiety of our patients. Many times our patients might have their pets at home and they’re not able to come visit, so this provides a really great comfort to them,” said Rosalie England, Manager of Volunteer Services Department at Mercyhealth.

Follow along here: https://twitter.com/mercyhealth

Dogs/handlers wishing to volunteer can sign up here: https://mercyhealthsystem.org/volunteers/

To watch the WIFR report, click here.

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