When the patient discovered he was going to have to stay at Essentia Health St. Mary’s Hospital – Superior for an extended period, he feared he would lose his new service dog, Warner, a black Labrador retriever. The patient did not know that St. Mar’s Hospital believes in the healing power of animals and that service dogs and patients’ pets are welcome as part of their care.
Anna Peterson was instrumental in making this happen to have Warner and the patient reunited. She contacted the service dog company, fielded multiple phone calls with them, got physician support for this and lined up his arrival. She has taken the responsibility of assuring that Warner is taken out regularly, often taking her lunch break to bring him outside to get exercise or if the weather is poor, to the PT gym for his play time. Anna has sent out the “rules” to staff so that they are aware that he is a service dog and cannot be treated like a regular dog in regards to interactions and receiving treats. Anna check in with the patient every day to assure that things are going well.
The entire process has revolved around the patient. The patient was in jeopardy of having the dog taken away from him because he was going to be hospitalized for such a long period do time, several months, and the canine company felt with all of the money invested, he should be given to another person as a service dog. When Anna heard this, she refused to accept that there was not more she could do. Anna displayed especially our values of hospitality and justice in this case. This is the patient’s home for about 4-5 months and being able to have his dog here with him while he recuperates shows that she has done her best to create a home like setting. She has also displayed justice to a patient who is disabled and has individualized his care on so many levels during his stay with us.