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Respiratory therapist helps in unique way


November 16, 2022 | Everyday Moments

Service dog in green vest lies on lap of person in bed

Caregiver uses lunches and breaks to tend to patient’s service dog

Amy Benjamin, a respiratory therapist, was rounding on the intensive care unit at PeaceHealth Sacred Heart Medical Center at RiverBend in Springfield, Oregon, when she overheard a special situation.

A patient with a service dog didn’t have anyone available to tend to the dog’s needs.

Knowing how important it would be to the patient’s healing process to have this faithful companion nearby, Amy instantly jumped in and offered to help, according to Melissa Pittenger, director of respiratory care.

“She spent breaks and lunches walking and taking the dog outside so the disabled patient could keep the service dog with her in the hospital,” Melissa said.

Having dogs of her own, Amy said she’s very used to animals. But she knew that service animals ask something different than a pet would. When she took the patient’s dog out to do his business, she made sure to handle him the same as the patient would — requiring him to stay in service mode.

Amy believes the dog was an extension of the patient. Caring for the dog was caring for the patient.

Melissa said the patient felt that care and expressed an overwhelming sense of gratitude for Amy’s generous assistance.

Respiratory therapist helps in unique way


November 16, 2022 | Everyday Moments
Service dog in green vest lies on lap of person in bedCaregiver uses lunches and breaks to tend to patient’s service dog

Amy Benjamin, a respiratory therapist, was rounding on the intensive care unit at PeaceHealth Sacred Heart Medical Center at RiverBend in Springfield, Oregon, when she overheard a special situation.

A patient with a service dog didn’t have anyone available to tend to the dog’s needs.

Knowing how important it would be to the patient’s healing process to have this faithful companion nearby, Amy instantly jumped in and offered to help, according to Melissa Pittenger, director of respiratory care.

“She spent breaks and lunches walking and taking the dog outside so the disabled patient could keep the service dog with her in the hospital,” Melissa said.

Having dogs of her own, Amy said she’s very used to animals. But she knew that service animals ask something different than a pet would. When she took the patient’s dog out to do his business, she made sure to handle him the same as the patient would — requiring him to stay in service mode.

Amy believes the dog was an extension of the patient. Caring for the dog was caring for the patient.

Melissa said the patient felt that care and expressed an overwhelming sense of gratitude for Amy’s generous assistance.