Our Lady of the Rosary Hospital resident Erma Muhlbeier spends some time with pet therapy dog Buddy during the Jan. 20th pet therapy day. Buddy is one of Chaplain Nick Wasylowich’s two dogs that he brings into the facility at least once a month and they are always a hit with staff and patients. Chaplain Nick also works in the hospital two days a week, providing spiritual counseling services to patients. Kevin J. Sabo photo

Castor hospital therapy dog program proves popular

Chaplain Nick Wasylowich has been bringing his two dogs, Buddy and Harley for monthly visits

  • Jan. 29, 2020 2:30 p.m.

It’s a “ruff” life, but two regular visitors to Castor’s Our Lady of the Rosary Hospital always bring a howling good time to the facility’s patients and staff.

For almost the past year, chaplain Nick Wasylowich has been bringing his two dogs, Buddy and Harley, for monthly visits with the patients and staff of the health-care facility.

“They are so appreciated by the residents,” said hospital administrator Colleen Enns.

“They’re popular with nursing staff as well.”

Buddy and Harley are not the first dogs Wasylowich has brought to the facility. He used to bring his old dog, Amigo, in as a pet therapy exercise for the residents.

When Amigo died, he began looking for a new dog to continue the program. He received Harley from a rescue centre, where he was born; however, having doubts that the chihuahua would be a good fit, Wasylowich also sought out a szhih tzu.

“The breeder told me, ‘If you make him a hospital dog, you can have him (Buddy)’,” said Wasylowich.

As it turns out, after the simple obedience training and veterinary checks required to make them therapy dogs, they turned out to be a good fit, and Wasylowich began bringing them both into the hospital with him.

“I try to commit to once a month,” said Wasylowich.

“Though maybe I’ll try for more often in the summer.”

In addition to bringing the dogs in for regular visits to the hospital, Wasylowich is also employed by Covenant Health as a chaplain.

He is no stranger to the facility, as he is in twice a week to provide spiritual support and counselling for patients.

Get local stories you won't find anywhere else right to your inbox.
Sign up here

Just Posted

More ambulances are needed in Red Deer to handle inter-hospital patient transfers, says mayor

‘Code reds’ — meaning all city ambulances are in use — happen monthly

On the ropes: The Red Deer Boxing Club wants to expand, but is stymied by back-alley location

The club’s founder is looking for other site options, sponsorships

NDP speak out about future surgery access for women

Surgeries called “limited clinical value”

Your community calendar

Feb. 19 A Liberation of Holland event is being held at the… Continue reading

Einarson, Homan, Jones frontrunning at Tournament of Hearts

MOOSE JAW, Sask. — Manitoba, Ontario and the Jennifer Jones wild-card team… Continue reading

Feds hope to meet with Wet’suwet’en chiefs and negotiate end to blockades

OTTAWA — Traditional chiefs from British Columbia at the heart of the… Continue reading

Ponoka selling its airport to flying club

Agreement is for 25 years with option to buy back

Disturbances prompt Wetaskiwin to close emergency shelter

Citing increased threats, assaults, vagrancy and other crime, the City of Wetaskiwin… Continue reading

Blockades expose a polarized nation

The political response to Canada’s blockade crisis so far has been to… Continue reading

Canada hosts Lima Group, appeals for world’s help on Venezuela crisis

GATINEAU, Que. — Canada and its Western Hemisphere allies are calling on… Continue reading

Trump ally Roger Stone sentenced to over 3 years in prison

WASHINGTON — Trump loyalist Roger Stone was sentenced Thursday to more than… Continue reading

Most Read