Tuesday, 21 September 2021
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Kids thrilled by hospital’s new therapy dog

Franciscan Children’s Hospital’s newest employee, Marcus, had an excellent first day on the job.

He did spend much of the afternoon yesterday gobbling treats out of the nurse manager’s hand. Marcus is a 20-month-old black lab who has been trained to act as a therapy dog for the pediatric patients.

“The kids knew he was coming and they were thrilled to visit him,” said Franciscan Children’s CEO Aimee Carew-Lyons. “There’s not enough of Marcus to go around.”

Marcus was raised and trained by professionals at NEADS, a nonprofit based in Princeton that has provided more than 1,700 service dogs to people with disabilities and hearing loss.

“He’s been training all his life,” said Julie Jankun, a Franciscan Children’s nurse manager who will provide Marcus with a home outside of the hospital.

The facility applied for a service dog just a few months ago, and Carew-Lyons said the lovable lab will provide patients with comfort, entertainment and companionship for many years.

“You’ve got tubes sticking out of your nose, you have tubes sticking out of your neck, if you have things attached to your head, dogs don’t care. They love you unconditionally and they love the kids,” she said.

After Marcus greeted several of the patients, tail wagging, Boston Marathon Bombing survivor Patrick Downes read to them from the book he wrote with his wife, Jessica Kensky. The children’s book, “Rescue and Jessica,” details Kensky’s bond with her own NEADS service dog, Rescue.

“By the time they get to you, they’ve gone through the Harvard school of dog training,” Downes said. “We were so blown away by what Rescue was capable of doing, not only in terms of task work, but his emotional connection to us, and how he was so loyal. Whenever we needed him he was there for us, and I hope these kids feel the same thing.”

Marcus’ new role at Franciscan Children’s was made possible through donors Mike and Susan Curtain and the Kenrose Kitchen Table Foundation.

Source: http://www.bostonherald.com/news/local_coverage/2018/07/kids_thrilled_by_hospital_s_new_therapy_dog

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