Saint Francis Service Dogs 2022 Annual Report

A Job Well Done Salem Health and Rehab and Tide

These days, you may find sweet Tide resting on the floor of the physical therapy room or in any one of the spaces inside the sprawling Salem Health and Rehab facility that he has come to know so well. Things are a little bit different now. He doesn’t put on his Saint Francis Facility dog vest anymore, but the impact he had is still felt by everyone there. “He absolutely loved coming to work. He saw his vest and knew what he had to do,” says Jennifer Pressman, Salem Health Administrator and Tide’s handler. Tide was expertly matched with the healthcare facility back in 2014. The team at Saint Francis knew then that it would take a special dog to be able to have the stamina and skills to give the patients what they needed while still focusing in the stressful environment. On an average day on the job, Tide would work with patients dealing with a multitude of challenges. Using tasks like “tug”, “get it”, and “hold”, Tide helped many progress as they recovered from strokes, injury, and accidents. “Tide sort of picked out the patients who needed him most. It was beautiful to see that chemistry between them,” says Pressman. Jennifer Fisher, another of Tide’s handlers and Director of Rehabilitation, says, “Some patients are scared. But, playing fetch doesn’t seem scary. While they were working with Tide, it didn’t even feel like rehab.” As Tide became a familiar and deeply loved presence at Salem Health and Rehab, it was his ability to connect with staff, patients and families that lead to moments that truly changed the lives of those around him. Fisher recalls an especially poignant case where a young patient who was dealing with some very serious injuries from a car accident, immediately connected with Tide. The young man was unable to speak, eat or walk. During a therapy session, he wanted to give Tide a treat. The condition was he has to give Tide the command “sit”, which led to him speaking his first word since his accident. To get the patient to start eating again, the team had him first feed Tide to ease his fear. Eventually, Tide even got him back on his feet. “I knew when I met him that he was the right one for us. He was go-go-go,” Pressman says.


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