Two therapy dogs who brighten the days of students, faculty, and staff in the Absecon Public Schools took on an additional assignment this summer -- bringing joy to the staff at AtlantiCare Regional Medical Center.

Skye and Hope, the beautiful Greater Swiss Mountian Dogs, made twice-weekly visits to the Atlantic City and Pomona campuses of AtlantiCare this summer.

The dogs and their Absecon Schools companions spent a little time perking up the spirits of healthcare workers whose jobs require them to stay focused on the daily grind of serving the needs of the sick and injured.

The therapy visits are part of a pilot partnership between Absecon Schools and the hospital. Especially in the days since the pandemic began, hospital work is hard and often thankless.

Any dog lover will tell you about the benefits a short interaction with a friendly dog brings.

“Therapy dogs contribute to the healing environment so critical to our dedicated providers and staff,” said James Kilmer, vice president, and chief administrative officer, AtlantiCare Regional Medical Center, Atlantic City Campus.

“Over the last two and a half years, our team has steadfastly cared for our patients, our community and each other. We are grateful for the visits Skye and Hope made to our hospital campuses.”

What I thought of as I read about these therapy dog visits, was what a commitment this program was from the staff and facility of the Absecon Public Schools.

For the Superintendent, Dr. Daniel Dooley, and other members of the staff to take the time to get training for this program and make the visits during their summer vacation says a lot about them.

Thanks also go to local businesses like McHugh’s Pizza in Galloway, Lilies Florals in Galloway, and Philly Pretzel Factory in Egg Harbor Township for contributing to the program and to the students in the Absecon Schools' STARS Summer Program who made handmade cards for hospital staff.

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