Man’s best friend starts a new 9-to-5

WVU Medicine Barnesville Hospital adds new therapy dog to build morale

T-L Photo/GAGE VOTA Marketing and Communications Strategist for WVU Medicine Barnesville Hospital Lindsay Dowdle, left, poses with Chloe, Barnesville Hospital’s therapy dog, and Angie Williams, a registered nurse and Chloe’s owner.

BARNESVILLE — WVU Medicine Barnesville Hospital is making strides to lift the spirits of patients and staff when things get a little “ruff.”

The newest addition to Barnesville Hospital is a therapy dog named Chloe.

“She lives with me, so she generally comes. When I’m here she’ll come to work with me,” Angie Willams, a registered nurse and Chloe’s owner, said while discussing when Chloe will be at the hospital.

Chloe, a rescue, is a certified therapy dog through the Alliance of Therapy Dogs and has Canine Good Citizen and Adult Manners training through Paws in Time.

Williams said the Paws in Time training was a six-week program with a test for the two certifications afterward, while the Alliance of Therapy Dogs certifications included a test along with having to do a few supervised therapy visits.

Chloe spends most of her time in the emergency room visiting patients. During the slow times during the day, she will go to the different departments, visiting patients and staff members throughout the hospital.

“It’s been really beneficial for the staff to be able to interact with her and to be able to provide a little bit of decompression,” hospital Marketing and Communications Strategist Lindsay Dowdle said. “Chloe has been the perfect addition to Barnesville Hospital for patients and employees both.”

Chloe started her new job on April 26. She has her own Facebook page, listed as “Chloe – Chief Dogtor.” It features images of Chloe hugging some of her favorite nurses and wishing local first responders a Happy EMS Week. She also has done a little public relations work, welcoming guests to a hospital auxiliary fundraiser.

Chloe wears a special, branded vest when she is on site at the hospital to help the public recognize that she is there to serve.

Chloe also makes visits to WVU Medicine’s Morristown Clinic.

“Pet therapy decreases depression and increases self-esteem while encouraging three-way interaction between patient, pet, and pet owner. This interaction is calming, reduces anxiety, and improves a patient’s psychological state,” according to VCA Animal Hospital’s website.


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