Furry friend welcomed as family by SOMC staffPosted on October 22, 2013

Little Bear the Therapy DogPets are a part of the family, but there are many places a family might travel where their furry companions may not be welcome. When Staci Sammons’ children were involved in a car wreck, she was relieved to discover Southern Ohio Medical Center wasn’t one of those places.

Staci has a four-year old, 180-pound English Mastiff named Little Bear, a therapy dog who participates in Tail-Wagging Tutors and is a regular at three nursing homes and two local schools. He was on his way to Heartland Nursing Home on August 13 when Staci got the news: her son and daughter were in a wreck, and her daughter was on her way to SOMC.

In that moment, the last thing she wanted to worry about was what to do with Little Bear… but it turned out no worry was necessary. They were both welcomed into the hospital’s family room, where they waited for more than six hours.

“I know a lot of the nurses took pictures that night and came in petted him,” Staci said. “I was really happy they let him stay. If I’d have gone back home to drop him off, I don’t know that I could have made it back to the hospital because they had to shut down all four lanes of traffic after the wreck.”

Staci’s daughter was treated and released. Her son, who had been sent to another hospital, also recovered. But she is still grateful for the warmth and understanding she received when she first walked through the hospital doors with a 180-pound dog in tow.

“It was really nice to be able to know they’d let him stay there and have a place,” Staci said. “If nothing else, I’d just like to thank SOMC for that.”

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