One of our favorite ways to help people cope with being in the hospital is offering them a visit from one of our pet therapy dogs. Dogs like Waldo help brighten – and sometimes make – a patient’s day. He was honored by the City of Reno for his commitment to the community.
The healing power of a visit from a furry friend is demonstrated through our Pet Therapy Program, which began in 1997. Our 14 registered and certified pet therapy dogs, like Waldo, visit patients at various Renown Health locations.
“I like to see the way people respond to Waldo and that’s what’s most important to me,” says Ed Ferrell, Jr., Renown pet therapy volunteer and Waldo’s owner. “I’m just Waldo’s person. He’s the one that is able to break the ice and talk to people and get them out of their not-good place. Or if they are happy, he makes it just a little bit better.”
Becoming a Therapy Dog Volunteer
Ferrell joined the pet therapy program after he retired and moved to Reno when his wife, Charlene, joined Renown. He describes Waldo, a 150 pound bull mastiff, as “very outgoing and gregarious.”
Ferrell and Waldo can be found visiting patients every Wednesday at Renown Regional Medical Center and Renown Children’s Hospital.
Ferrell says Waldo is attuned to the infants and smaller children. “Sometimes they will be in a room crying. It really distresses him. He really loves kids and he will go sit outside the room. If he hears them crying, he will just sit there at the door and cry a little bit with them,” Ferrell says.