Last month, Texas Children’s Hospital welcomed another furry friend to its staff. Bailey, an 18-month-old golden retriever, joined three-year old golden retriever, Elsa, in the Texas Children’s Pawsitive Play Program.
Together, Elsa and Bailey provide a special kind of support to patients and their families as well as other staff members at Texas Children’s Hospital. And although Bailey has only been at the hospital for a short time, she is learning her way around and comforting as many people as she can.
“She looks forward to seeing patients, loves staff, walking into rooms and hopping up on beds,” said Adair Galanski, Bailey’s animal-assisted therapy coordinator and child life specialist at Texas Children’s. “She loves it here—all the patients, noises and smells—everything fascinates her.”
Just like Elsa, Bailey was trained extensively at Canine Assistants in Atlanta and was brought to Texas Children’s thanks to a gift from Texas Children’s president and CEO Mark A. Wallace and his wife, Shannon, in memory of their black Labrador, Cadence. The Wallaces pledged an initial $80,000 to the Pawsitive Play Program to allow even more patients and families to benefit from animal-assisted therapy.
“I think it really shows the kind of people they are—it’s not just someone who is in charge of an extremely large hospital worrying about patient numbers and what things look like on paper,” Galanski said. “For someone to actually care that much about the emotions of patients and the quality of their stay, I think that just really speaks to him as a person and the values and hopes he has for Texas Children’s.”
Bailey was brought to Texas Children’s to work with patients in the Heart Center, specifically in the Pediatric Intensive Care Unit and in the Progressive Care Unit. Since she is still familiarizing herself with the hospital, Bailey and Galanski have been seeing four to five patients per day.
“Bailey and Elsa have the same kind of job, they are just working in different units,” Galanski explained. “Since we are on these three units, Elsa is everywhere else in the hospital.”
Bailey is able to connect with patients and their families without words or convincing, Galanski said.
“Sometimes, just sitting with her, petting her fur, focusing on Bailey and allowing yourself to breathe, really helps people to calm down,” Galanski said.
In the future, Galanski would love to see even more dogs clocking in at Texas Children’s.
“I would love for there to be more dogs in the Pawsitive Play Program,” Galanski said. “The more dogs we get, the more kids we can see regularly and make this an actual part of their everyday activities and therapy.”
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Today’s #VeteranOfTheDay is Army Veteran Arch J. Lewis Jr. Arch served as a paratrooper during World War II.In 1942, Arch was drafted into the Army. At the end of his basic training, paratroopers recruited Arch. He was sent to Fort Benning, Georgia to complete his paratrooper training. Arch learned to pack a parachute so it would not tangle when released. He also had to climb rope and jump from towers in addition to completing other training jumps. When Arch completed his training, he was assigned to the 101st Airborne Division and sent to England. There, he and the other paratroopers prepared for D-Day by taking practice jumps. On one of these jumps, the wind was so bad that Arch landed wrong and broke his clavicle.Despite the broken clavicle, Arch still went out on his mission on D-Day. His plane took fire when it reached the coast of France and veered off course. As a result, Arch landed many miles from his drop zone. He was the second one off the plane, and he landed in a tree but was able to get down safely. He found himself among a maze of hedgerows, and he could not locate his fellow soldiers. He found a safe place to sleep and spent the next few days avoiding German soldiers and trying to find his comrades. He eventually located a house while a German convoy passed behind him. He made it to the house safely, and the owner gave him some milk and bread. She could not speak any English, so she went and found a young girl who could. The girl said she knew where the rest of the Americans were, and she led Arch to them.After Arch was reunited with his fellow soldiers, they ended up in a firefight with German soldiers and were forced to surrender. Arch was sent to a prisoner of war camp on the Polish border that was liberated by the Russians in January 1945. He eventually made it back to American lines and was discharged. Arch got involved in many service organizations after the war and made sure to keep in touch with his comrades. Arch and his wife went back to Normandy Beach on the 50th Anniversary of D-Day. Arch passed away in 2012.We honor his service.
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