New facility dog to join Norton Women’s & Children’s Hospital pediatric emergency team thanks to Northwestern Mutual

Northwestern Mutual has made a gift of $68,000 that will bring another facility dog to Norton Healthcare’s Heel, Dog, Heal program.

Northwestern Mutual has made a gift of $68,000 that will bring another facility dog to Norton Healthcare’s Heel, Dog, Heal program. Edie, a 2-year-old golden retriever, will join the team in the pediatric emergency department at Norton Women’s & Children’s Hospital. This will bring the program’s team to 10 dogs serving various hospitals within the Norton Healthcare system.

Research shows that having full-time facility dogs has many benefits for patients and families. Sometimes it’s providing emotional comfort by lying at the foot of a patient’s hospital bed or sitting by their side before a procedure. In the ED, Edie is expected to bring comfort to children who are there for any reason. More than 14,000 children visit the ED each year for issues that can include migraines, breathing difficulty, broken bones, sports injuries, injuries caused by accidents, seizures and issues with diabetes.

“Our facility dogs not only offer comfort but provide children with an outlet to verbalize their fears,” said Heather Stohr, manager of child life therapy at Norton Children’s Hospital. “Edie will be there to help for any issue, even for comforting children when their parent may be there for an illness.”

“We have been happy to support Norton Children’s Hospital in various ways for many years,” said Dan Rivers, managing partner, Northwestern Mutual. “Having a facility dog in the emergency department is something that we saw as important to helping the children of this community, and we’re thrilled to be part of it.”

“We’re grateful to Northwestern Mutual for their continued support and for helping us expand a program that has been so beneficial,” said Lynnie Meyer, Ed.D., R.N., CFRE, senior vice president and chief development officer, Norton Healthcare. “This gift will allow even more children and families to receive additional help to calm their fears, relieve anxiety and heal.”

Edie was trained by Paws With Purpose through the organization’s program at the Kentucky Correctional Institution for Women in Pewee Valley. Dogs are bred to be service and facility dogs, and start their training around 8 weeks old. Edie is an avid squirrel and chipmunk chaser, loves to take squeakers out of toys and enjoys resting her head on odd surfaces such as feet and table supports. According to her handler, she loves people and children, and is always on the lookout for someone who needs some love.

A generous gift from the Independent Pilots Association (IPA) Foundation established the Heel, Dog, Heal program, with additional support from the Sam Swope Family Foundation, Dunbar Foundation, Unified Technologies, North Harrison Elementary School, Barbie Meyers, Bourbon & BowtiesTM, Carol Snyder and Sara Yamin, Edie Nixon and PetSmart Charities.

Heel, Dog, Heal facility dogs at Norton Healthcare

  • Norton Audubon Hospital: Henry
  • Norton Children’s Hospital: Yarie and Dunkin
  • Norton Hospital: Pepper
  • Norton Women’s & Children’s Hospital – Zeke and Edie
  • Norton Cancer Institute – Brownsboro: Zeus
  • Norton Children’s Medical Center: Holly and Doc
  • Pediatric float (Norton Children’s Hospital, Norton Children’s Medical Center and Norton Women’s & Children’s Hospital): Juno


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