NJ children’s hospital welcomes a bit of Hawaii to its staff
NEW BRUNSWICK — Hawaii comes to New Jersey!
Children’s Specialized Hospital, part of the RWJ Barnabas Health Children’s Health Network, welcomed their newest facility member to their New Brunswick Inpatient Hospital: a 22-month-old therapy dog.
The hospital hosted a welcome party this week for Maui, the Golden Retriever, who now serves as a full-time employee of CSH. Everyone, including Maui were wearing traditional Hawaiian leis during the celebration.
Maui will work with her owner and handler, Katie Ahlers, who is a recreational therapy supervisor, across various departments within the hospital to provide special dog therapy to patients, their families, and staff members.
According to the hospital, dogs have a profoundly positive impact on patients and their families as well as hospital personnel.
Petting dogs promotes the production of mood-enhancing hormones such as serotonin, prolactin, and oxytocin. Interactions with dogs have been shown to have a regulatory effect on blood pressure and lower respiration rates.
The presence of dogs in hospital facilities has also been shown to increase physical and mental stimulation and emotion.
Maui was raised at Patient Paws Service Dogs, Inc. training facility in Alpharetta, Georgia. This non-profit provides facility dogs to hospitals and service dogs to recipients with mobility-related disabilities. The best part is that they never charge the recipient for their facility or service dogs.
Funding for Maui was provided by Mickey’s Kids Charitable Foundation, a non-profit that raises money for dogs from Patient Paws Service Dogs in hopes to get as many service and therapy dogs into the New Jersey and New York areas as possible.
Mickey’s Kids has also partnered with NorthStar VETS in Robbinsville to cover all costs of vet services for Maui’s entire life.