There’s a special member of the health care team at Good Samaritan Regional Medical Center in Corvallis. Sammy is a therapy dog who works with staff at the hospital to prevent burnout. He helps with what can be a stressful environment for employees, as well as for patients and families.
Jennifer Serfin, MD, an acute care surgeon and medical director of trauma services at Good Samaritan, is responsible for supervising and caring for Sammy. She got the idea for a therapy dog at a medical conference. Dr. Serfin heard
about another hospital in Texas with a therapy dog and brought the idea back to Samaritan.
“Dogs are great,” said Dr. Serfin. “I’ve had dogs my entire life.”
The idea of having a dog around for staff to interact with was well received. Sammy came to the hospital when he was 5 months old. Already he has been a great comfort to the people who work in a high-stress profession, by making rounds and visits all departments and nursing units at the hospital.
“If you need a little love, you can pet Sammy,” Dr. Serfin said.
Sammy’s adoption also supported an organization that helps young people at MacLaren Youth Correctional Facility in Woodburn. Sammy was adopted from Project POOCH (Positive Opportunities Obvious Change with Hounds), Inc. The program pairs young people from MacLaren with homeless dogs. The young people care for and learn to train the dogs until they are ready for adoption. Project POOCH dogs leave as great pets, while their trainers learn compassion, responsibility and personal skills.
See what Sammy is up to on Good Samaritan Regional Medical Center’s Facebook page: #TherapyDogSam