Hallmark Youthcare is excited to announce the arrival of a new staff member, a black Labrador named Jeter. Jeter was adopted in September 2014 by the family of Hallmarks Chief Clinical Officer, Brian Chizuk. Jeter was named after recently retired Yankee great, Derek Jeter. This dog’s sweet personality and calm demeanor made him a great candidate to serve as a therapy dog. After months of training with Brian and Deborah Moore of Siriusly Canine LLC, Jeter received his Canine Good Citizen Certificate and later his Alliance of Therapy Dogs Certification.
Jeter works at Hallmark Youthcare three full days a week. He attends staff meetings, individual and group therapies, school lessons and visits each of the units. The response from the children and the staff have been immeasurable. Both the kids and the staff find comfort in Jeter’s presence. He is a source of unconditional love, support and comfort. Also because Jeter is under two years old, his youthful playfulness often brings a lot of smiles and laughter.
Studies continue to show the benefits of pet therapy in residential settings as hugely advantageous. Just a few of benefits include: reduced feelings of isolation and alienation, decreased depression and anxiety, encourages communication and socialization and creates motivation for patients to recover faster. Pets can also assist in patient/therapist bonding, assisting children in overcoming speech and emotional disorders and increased self confidence by providing a non-judgmental, non-stressful environment. Animals working in residential facilities can be used as a peaceful escape but also a valuable learning tool.
Hallmark Youthcare is excited to begin integrating pet therapy into our multidisciplinary approach to individualized care provided to our youth. This is an exciting step in the direction of adding innovative and holistic approaches to working with our youth toward the goal of providing hope, recovery, and renewed direction for youth, families and community.