The Positive Pit Bull Raises Spirits at Wake Med WAKE COUNTY, N.C.
RALEIGH, N.C.—A dog named Cricket made history this week at Wake Medical Center in Raleigh. Cricket was approved as the first American Pit Bull Terrier to be qualified as the newest member of the Hospitality Pets program.
Cricket and her person, positive reinforcement dog trainer Paige Burris, will make their first visit to Wake Med on Thursday, April 8. This dynamic duo is volunteering their talents and good cheer. The therapy work involves visiting patients every other week for two hours. Cricket is also the first dog to work in the children's emergency department, and her rounds will include a visit to pediatrics.
The Hospitality Pets Program provides sensory stimulation, encourages socialization and promotes communication in patients of all ages. Since 1985, dogs have been extensively screened in order to become a part of the program and honorary members of the Wake Med staff.
Burris says, “Our therapy work also includes visiting nursing homes, and volunteering with childrens' reading programs, offering people the opportunity to spend time in a positive way with an American Pit Bull Terrier.”
“The public is largely uninformed about the breed as all they know are the negative images and stories they see again and again through the media, ” Burris continues. “Now that Cricket and I have been accepted as a hospitality programs team at Wake Med, we look forward to visiting with children in the emergency department and in pediatrics, taking their minds off their immediate health concerns while they visit with and are entertained by Cricket.”
The team knows this is a win-win situation. Burris says, “The patient gets the immediate benefit of the human/animal bond, and Cricket and I leave everyone we meet with a positive impression of the breed... most of all, their incredible love of people.”
To inquire about the Wake Med program, contact Volunteer Services. At the Raleigh Campus, call 919-350-8293. At WakeMed Cary Hospital, call 919-350-2363. To learn more about Paige Burris and Cricket, visit thepositivecanine.com