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June 5, 2014

Memorial hospital welcomes therapy dog

NORMAN — A new addition to Griffin Memorial Hospital brightened the faces of staff members Wednesday afternoon as they welcomed a therapy dog to the facility. The hospital has partnered with a local nonprofit organization to adopt a companion for patients.

Friends for Folks, a component fund of Tulsa Community Foundation, is located in Lexington. Most widely recognized for their Emmy-nominated documentary “The Dogs of Lexington,” which follows the dog-training prison program. The dogs are trained by inmates at the Lexington correctional facility and are then released once they graduate from the training program to families and facilities in need of a loyal companion.

Quigley, an Australian shepherd and golden retriever mix, came to the training facility from the Oklahoma Humane Society. Friends for Folks coordinator Lee Fairchild said Quigley is a good match for Griffin.

“It’s amazing that he’s gone from a dog just wandering around to where he is now,” Fairchild said. “He’s going to be able to help a lot of people.”

Once Friends for Folks receives a dog, the canine learns basic obedience skills and how to be comfortable around people. Fairchild said this process usually takes about four months, depending on the dog’s personality, but Quigley wasn’t a problem.

“He was pretty nice to begin with,” Fairchild said.

Excited staff members welcomed Quigley to his permanent home on the Griffin campus as he made his rounds. Sniffing, trotting and looking around, Quigley settled in as Bo Cox, his new handler at Griffin, led him around.

Though the staff has big plans for Quigley, Charla Young, director of recreation at Griffin, said the dog’s downtime will be just as important.

Housed in the administration building on the Griffin campus, Quigley will have an office of his own for quiet time away from work.

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