Chaplain Nich Wasylowich poses with Harley on Jan. 20th. Harley is one of two therapy dogs he brings into Castor’s hospital on at least a monthly basis. He began the pet therapy program in the facility with his old dog, Amigo, and when Amigo died he ended up with Harley and his shih tzu Buddy. 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

By Kevin J. Sabo

For the Advance

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 nearly the last 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, and once Amigo died, he began looking for a new dog to continue 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 the dogs therapy dogs, both seemed to be a good fit, and Wasylowich began bringing 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 and he is no stranger to the facility as he is in twice a week to provide spiritual support and counseling for patients.

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