Orbit The Facility Dog

October 2, 2020

Huntsville Hospital’s newest employee has four legs, plays fetch and answers to the name of Orbit.

The new facility dog was made possible by a grant from PetSmart Charities through Huntsville Hospital Foundation, and started seeing patients in mid-September.

Orbit and his sister Asteroid are Golden Retrievers that make up Huntsville Hospital Foundation’s Canines for Coping program, which is 100-percent donor funded.

The professionally trained service dogs bring comfort and support to pediatric and adult patients at not-for-profit Huntsville Hospital for Women & Children, and are the first hospital facility dogs in Alabama.

This impactful program launched in July 2019. Because of patient volume and an overwhelmingly positive response to the program, a second facility dog was needed.

A $70,441 grant from PetSmart Charities in 2019 covered the cost of the additional dog and its intensive training, which prepared it to provide services based on medical goals, to be present during medical procedures and to assist with bereavement.

The grant also covers the annual cost associated with Orbit’s Certified Child Life Specialist facility dog handler.

“The Canines for Coping program has been an incredible asset to our hospital, and we are excited to serve more patients with the addition of Orbit,” said Elizabeth Sanders, vice president, Huntsville Hospital for Women & Children. “Thanks to PetSmart Charities, we can provide double the joy, comfort and support to our patients, ultimately improving their outcomes and hospital experience.”

Huntsville Hospital Foundation is also honored to announce that PetSmart Charities has continued its generous partnership with the program through 2021 thanks to a $46,500 grant, awarded in September 2020.

“We are thrilled to continue to support the expansion of the Canines for Coping program and the arrival of Orbit,” said Kelly Balthazor, regional relationship manager at PetSmart Charities. “The program has proved to change the way patients receive care through the healing power of pets, and we look forward to seeing the positive impact Orbit is sure to have on both the pediatric patients and staff.”

This dynamic duo is so loved they even had a superhero themed birthday party on October 1st!

  • Most Recent News

    Students Get Therapy Dog

    January 8, 2021

    When middle school students return to class on Jan. 11, they’ll find a new face at the door: Daisy. Daisy is a therapy dog and the personal pet of Rob Kreger, principal of the Rock L. Butler Middle School. The five-year-old golden retriever is not a school pet or mascot, but rather a working dog […]

    Read more

    Therapy Dogtor

    January 8, 2021

    Last March, Caroline Benzel, a third-year medical student, began to notice the stress and discomfort her nurse friends were feeling from the pressures of the ongoing Covid-19 pandemic. “[Personal protective equipment] can be really rough on the skin,” Benzel, 31, tells PEOPLE. Benzel and her 3-year-old Rottweiler, Loki (who’s also a therapy dog) hatched a […]

    Read more

    Therapy Dog Pups

    January 8, 2021

    When Stanley the miniature fox terrier’s owner passed away, the little dog started a ‘paw-some’ new role – bringing puppy love to some of the Gold Coast’s oldest residents. After Carinity Cedarbrook Diversional Therapist Julianne Staff adopted Stanley, he began visiting the aged care community at Mudgeeraba as a therapy dog. Therapy dogs help to […]

    Read more

    Puppy Cams

    January 7, 2021

    A nonprofit is providing an unusual form of therapy for those on the front lines of the coronavirus pandemic – puppy cams! “You spend five minutes with a puppy and try not to smile,” said registered nurse Robin Lingg Lagrone. Lingg Lagrone says watching little furballs wag their tails and prance on their paws helps […]

    Read more

    Pet Committee

    January 7, 2021

    When Moore County’s school doors were abruptly closed earlier in 2020, two- and four-legged volunteers from the Moore County Citizens’ Pet Responsibility Committee (PRC) were in their 12th year of presenting a six-session Pet Responsibility Education Program for fourth-graders. The PRC quickly shifted gears and placed its program materials online as part of a home […]

    Read more

    The Right Rescue Dog

    January 7, 2021

    If your New Year’s resolution is to add a canine family member, good for you. Somewhere out there is the perfect puppy or adult dog for your family. You have a lot of things to think about when you begin to look for that new family member, puppy or dog? Large or small? Purebred or […]

    Read more

    Police Dog Attack

    January 7, 2021

    A resolution headed to the Duluth City Council on Monday could put to rest a lawsuit filed by Teri Lynn Ehlers, an employee of the Patch Motel, who was bitten by a Duluth police dog named Oakley. Former Duluth Police Officer Marc Johnson was a registered guest of the Warroad establishment May 28, 2018, when […]

    Read more

    PAWS With A Cause

    January 7, 2021

    Pebble Hill Plantation and the Thomas County Public Library are pleased to announce the upcoming Enlightening Bites program, “PAWS With a Cause,” on Friday, January 8, 2021 at noon in the Flipper Room of the Library. The program is being presented by Jeri Anderson, field representative. Anderson is recently retired from the City of Monticello, […]

    Read more

    Police Canine Team

    January 7, 2021

    Kingston Police revealed in a news release late Wednesday afternoon that they’ve been keeping a four-legged secret for roughly three months. The force announced it added a second canine unit, with the arrival of police service dog Dak this past October. He is working with Const. Jeff Dickson, while police service dog Bask is working […]

    Read more

    K9s For Warriors

    January 7, 2021

    K9s For Warriors, a nonprofit organization that provides military veterans suffering from severe PTSD, traumatic brain injury and military sexual trauma with service animals, recently changed the name of its main campus to honor its leader and founder Shari Duval. Duval began K9s For Warriors in 2011 after her son returned from two tours in […]

    Read more

    More Recent News