DVIDS – News – Four-legged major brings joy to Brooke Army Medical Center


JOINT BASE SAN ANTONIO-FORT SAM HOUSTON, Texas (June 8, 2022) – Brooke Army Medical Center commissioned a new four-legged staffer with a penchant for spreading cheer at the rank of U.S. Army Major during a ceremony on June 6.

Budd, a Labrador Retriever, will be BAMC’s new facility dog.
During his commissioning, U.S. Army Col. Kimberlie Biever, acting commanding officer of BAMC, took the oath of office charging Budd with the duty to “comfort and encourage others”.

“As a Major of the BAMC Facility Dog Program, you have to set an example for facility dogs to emulate,” Biever said. “Your conduct and professionalism with and without treats will be beyond reproach, without barking or jumping without orders to do so. You are responsible for the smiles of humans… You will bring joy and comfort to all who need you.

Biever asked Budd if he took those responsibilities wholeheartedly, to which he replied with a snub.

After the Commanding Officer affixed the rank of Major to Budd’s waistcoat, BAMC Command Sgt. Major Thurman Reynolds returned his first salute. Major Budd returned the favor with a raised paw.

As a facility dog, Budd serves a different function than BAMC’s therapy dogs. Therapy dogs are each owned by their handlers and provide their services to all BAMC patients, staff and visitors.

According to medicalmutts.org, facility dogs are similar to therapy dogs. However, therapy dogs only occasionally work on a volunteer basis, while facility dogs work full-time at their assigned facility.

Budd is owned and supplied to BAMC by America’s VetDogs, an organization that trains and places facility dogs as part of the rehabilitation process at military and VA hospitals and is strictly available to BAMC personnel.

“Team BAMC is over the moon with Budd,” said Jennifer Higgins, Special Assistant for Healthcare Resolutions, who led efforts to bring Budd to BAMC. “They were so excited to realize that Budd is for ‘them’ and is an employee welfare dog.”

Higgins recognized the need to boost staff morale during the COVID-19 pandemic.

“I had witnessed a rise in moral distress and burnout among staff,” she said. “COVID, as you know, has been harder on medical staff than anyone else. I saw seasoned employees quitting, retiring early, and leaving the medical profession all together.

Higgins points out that while Budd may pave the way for the new settlement dog program, he is not BAMC’s first settlement dog. That honor goes to Koko, a blonde Labrador Retriever who was first brought to BAMC’s pediatric oncology clinic in 2013 by US Army Colonel Sean Hipp, Chief Medical Officer.

“In the fall of 2012, I wrote to US VetDogs asking if they had ever supported therapy animals in the hospital,” Hipp said. “One of the trainers, Mrs. Valérie Cramer, found the post and said we had to support it. His leadership loved the idea of ​​a VetDog supporting a military pediatric oncology clinic. Mrs. Cramer called me and in the spring of 2013 Koko was at BAMC supporting beneficiaries and staff.

Cramer serves as service dog program manager for America’s VetDogs and again assists BAMC with the placement and training of Budd.

“We are very happy to provide our second dog to BAMC knowing that using Koko, your former AVD facility dog, has been beneficial in your healing work,” Cramer said.

“I was especially excited to work with the team you chose as dog handlers because I’ve worked with Colonel Hipp before and Jennifer Higgins knows dogs very well,” she said. for follow-up. “At America’s VetDogs, we know that through the use of a facility dog ​​in a hospital environment, that dog has a great impact on everyone they encounter every day. It’s wonderful to know that your leaders believe this too! »

Date taken: 06.08.2022
Date posted: 06.08.2022 11:03
Story ID: 422487
Location: FORT SAM HOUSTON, Texas, USA

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