Sutter Health Facility Dogs

Sutter Health donates $25,000 and launches facility dog video campaign

person with a Canine Companions dog

Canine Companions’ expertly-trained facility dogs provide Sutter patients companionship and encourage physical activity by taking patients for walks, playing fetch or allowing patients to practice fine motor skills like hair brushing—all depending on the needs of the patient. In partnership with their human handlers, the dogs calm children with neurological conditions, such as autism, so they may be properly examined at medical checkups. The dogs also comfort children and teens battling cancer, as well as encourage adult rehabilitation patients as they work to recover from stroke and brain or spinal cord injuries.

Sutter and Canine Companions have collaborated since 2002, when a Canine Companions facility dog began working with patients at Sutter Health’s Alta Bates Summit Regional Acute Rehabilitation Center. Today, nine Canine Companions facility dogs work alongside their handlers at Alta Bates Summit Regional Acute Rehabilitation Center in Oakland, Sutter Roseville Rehabilitation Institute, Sutter Neurosciences Medical Group in Sacramento and the Sutter Children’s Center, Sacramento.

Sutter recently launched a social media campaign highlighting their facility dogs. Check out the videos here:

In December the not-for-profit Sutter Health network made a $25,000 donation to Canine Companions for Independence to support its work enhancing the lives of people with disabilities by providing highly trained assistance dogs. “People achieve health and wellness in many different ways—from regular check-ups with their doctor to yoga and meditation,” said Stephen Lockhart, M.D., Ph.D. senior vice-president and chief medical officer of Sutter Health. “A healthcare partner can also take various forms, including four legs instead of two. Animal friends like Canine Companions can offer emotional and physical benefits that help the healing process.” Dr. Lockhart added, “We’re delighted to make this donation to Canine Companions, whose facility dogs work alongside our care teams to provide comfort and inspiration to our patients so they may live so they may live as healthy and as independently as possible.”

“We are so appreciative of the generous donation from Sutter Health to help us place more expertly trained assistance dogs with people who need them. Sutter Health has several facility dogs in the Northwest region that use their skills to help motivate patients and change lives on a daily basis. We are grateful for our ongoing partnership with Sutter Health and look forward to continuing our great work together,” said Margaret Sluyk, Northwest Region executive director, Canine Companions for Independence.

In addition to the support and encouragement Canine Companions facility dogs provide to Sutter patients, the dogs also provide tremendous emotional support to Sutter doctors and staff members who give so much of themselves to their patients every day—a welcome benefit for care givers who must sometimes deal with difficult diagnoses and loss.
We’re thrilled to know that our facility dogs working at facilities within the Sutter Health network are making such a positive impact.