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Cambridge Memorial Hospital announced that Ember, a national service dog, has joined the team at the facility to provide support to staff, doctors, midwives and volunteers.
CMH says the black Labrador retriever has been specifically trained to support the health and well-being of people associated with the hospital.
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She says Ember has become the first service dog in the country specifically designated for a hospital.
“Ember is paving the way for future positions in the healthcare sector. We look forward to hearing about the wonderful work that NSD Ember will do at CMH,” said Emma Bloom, Communications Coordinator at National Service Dogs.
Facility dogs are often deployed to police or fire departments in an effort to help people deal with the high stress associated with these roles.
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The hospital has been working towards acquiring a service dog for several years now.
“CMH employee Kim McDougall contacted the executive team in 2019 with a proposal to acquire a facility dog,” CMH President Patrick Gaskin explained. “We thought it was a great idea and we followed through with the application.”
He said Ember was brought in to help support the mental health of his employees.
The hospital says it is working with the University of Guelph to find a way to formally assess Ember’s impact at CMH.
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“We are in the early stages of exploring research opportunities with the hospital team and are excited about the possibility of studying the impact of the program on both staff and Ember,” said Jason Coe, professor at Guelph College of Veterinary Medicine in Ontario.
The cost of the service dog is covered by a donation from the Lyle S. Hallman Foundation, which provided a grant to pay vet costs and food bills for the dog for a decade.
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