Akron Children’s Hospital in Ohio is a special place for kids overcoming huge obstacles as they recover from serious accidents. Their staff isn’t only made up of kind hearted humans, but a legion of service dogs that motivate these kids like nothing else can.
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Jack Lehman spent several months at Akron after suddenly fell ill and had to relearn to walk, “I saw a lot of kids there who just wouldn’t work unless there was a dog with them. They were a huge comforting presence… they were relatable to all of us in the hospital and an inspiration.”
Most of the pups in the program have some limit or disability as well. All four of Chris Witschey’s pups participate in the hospital program. Her dog Handsome the Australian shepherd is deaf, but knows over 70 words in sign language.
“They can’t believe that a dog knows sign language. It just blows their mind,” Witschey noted.
One teen wrote an essay about her experience that still makes Witschey emotional.
“She talked about being in this dark place with no way out, and then one day, she met the deaf dog. He just really opened her eyes – that if this dog was so happy and couldn’t care less about his disability and was cheering other people up, why couldn’t she?”
The pups that participate in Akron’s “Doggie Brigade” program are making all the difference in the lives of these kids. Check out their incredible impact in the video below.
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