TOMS RIVER, N.J. (PIX11) – It was surely not a “ruff” first day on the job for one therapy dog in New Jersey.
Bear is a nearly 2-year-old Golden Retriever who was welcomed to his first day on the job at RWJBarnabas Health’s Children’s Specialized Hospital in Toms River.
“He’s making friends everywhere he goes today,” said his handler, Heidi Spiegel, a board certified behavior analyst.
Bear was donated after being raised by a nonprofit in Alpharetta, Georgia, called Patient Paws, where he was trained to be a facility dog. He’ll be putting in 40-hour work weeks with Spiegel at the facility.
“Studies show that a facility dog can provide comfort to our children,” said Spiegel. “He can definitely bring some joy into their lives with being playful and also assisting in their therapy needs. Our children are really complex, they have individual needs, and he’s going to help meet those needs in a really easygoing way.”
Much can be said about a dog’s purpose. For Bear, his purpose is one of healing.
“Our administration really worked hard to make sure we can provide this level of comfort and care and fun to our children,” said Spiegel.