At Peyton Manning Children’s Hospital, a four-legged hero named CC brings hope, healing, and compassion to victims of child abuse, alongside his client, Cortney Demetris, the medical director of Child Abuse Pediatrics.
CC, an Indiana Canine Assistant Network (ICAN) facility dog, helps young patients process the trauma they have experienced from both physical and sexual abuse; something Cortney has seen firsthand for years.
That’s because before applying for an ICAN dog, Cortney’s clinic was part of a therapy dog program where she witnessed the significant impact dogs had on pediatric patients and their families.
This led her to make a proposal for a permanent facility service dog in her clinic. Fast forward 12 months, and Cortney was paired with her own facility dog, ICAN CC.
When it’s time to go to work, CC starts each day by greeting the hospital’s valet staff.
“From there, he always bursts into the office, tail wagging, and excited to work,” Cortney said.
CC’s role in the hospital is expansive. He goes with Cortney everywhere – patient rooms, meetings, even the doctor’s lounge. And he always does this in a calmly fashion, walking quietly by her side while navigating the busy hallways.
When working with patients, CC has a collection of cues that ease patient anxiety such as dropping a basketball through a hoop, opening doors, picking up his leash, and telling “secrets.”
Because the patients Cortney works with have experienced traumatic events, it is not always easy for them to accept help. But with CC by her side, Cortney notices that the patients feel more comfortable.
“He calms patients with just his presence and is able to be a non-judgmental listener,” Cortney said. “He is trained to sit with these patients until they are ready to talk.”
Cortney continues to be surprised at how many people CC helps, even those she didn’t expect. He often makes special trips to the ER or other areas to help hospital staff with stressful situations. CC has even made an impact on police officers and caseworkers.
“I feel an incredible responsibility to use CC and all of his skills to the best of my ability. It’s important to me to utilize and guard the incredibly valuable resource that he is,” said Cortney.
If you’d like to support our service dogs like CC, consider a gift to ICAN. Your donation will help us unleash even more abilities for Hoosiers in need.