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Dogs Train To Comfort Patients At Indianapolis Area Hospitals

By Ed Ernstes for

ELKHART — From sniffing out crime on the streets to finding drugs and explosives, K-9 units have played a big role with police around the country. But now as a part of a new, but growing trend, they are being placed in hospitals to provide security and peace of mind.

Kenneth White and his four-legged partner, Delta, are taking part in specialized training in Elkhart. They’re with police canine units from around the area, learning the ropes with the Faus K-9 Specialty Company. But for Kenneth and his partner, their upcoming assignment is with Clarian Hospital in Indianapolis.

“He’ll be in the hospital the majority of the time, and also in the parking lot, and we’ve got some employee parking lots we patrol,” said White. “ We patrol the emergency room, we have a pretty big emergency room.”

The pair will join another K-9 unit that was trained at the hospital.

“The dog is trained for everything that a law enforcement dog is trained for, plus explosive detection, so they are going to have a dog that is at their beck and call, for different things that they might have to call on a law enforcement agency for,” said Bill Faus of Faus K-9 Specialties.

A big part of what he will be doing with Delta will deal with security measures, but there is another factor that comes into play: Meeting, greeting, and interacting with doctors and patients on a daily basis.

“He’s gonna be a dog that can cheer people up, and be able to make a small child smile,” said White.

“They go through he pediatrics, of course the kids love the dog — shaking hands with him, get to pet him, it’s really a situation where they have the
therapy dog and they have the utility dog both in the same dog,” said Faus.

Bill says the K-9 unit he trained that is at the Indianapolis hospital has dealt with unruly people and even prevented a suicide on hospital property.

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