A pair of four-legged guards has joined the security force at Dignity Health Chandler Regional Medical Center.
Chico, 2, and Scout, 1, are Czech shepherds who have teamed up with Mike Watkins and Robert Andazola in patrolling the hospital.
“We were looking at things to add security to make it a little safer. It’s already a safe place, but utilizing the K-9s is something we thought would enhance that safety,” said Christopher Bellino, director of security.
The dogs will be responsible for patrolling the area and de-escalating situations involving emotionally distressed people.
“One thing that they do is that they help relieve tension, for patients or family members who are distressed. We found that by utilizing the dogs at St. Joe’s, patients and family do relieve some of that tension when the dog shows up,” Bellino said.
Dignity Health has used dogs as part of the security at St. Joseph’s Hospital in Pheonix.
Both Chico and Scout have made their appearances at the hospital as they learn its layout and get accustomed to the surroundings and their handlers.
“(The security team) is right now in the process of acclimating the dogs and the handlers to the hospital,” Bellino said. “But they are on campus now getting acclimated to the hospital, the flooring, the elevators, stairwells. That’s the part that the handlers and the dogs need to get acclimated to before we actually put them into the schedule.”
Rudy Apodaca, Chandler Regional security vice president, explained, “The goal is safety. First and foremost, we are an…
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