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‘Parkview Pups’ allows co-workers to support co-workers with the help of their four-legged friends

FORT WAYNE, IND. – SEPT. 11, 2023 – A new program from Parkview Health allows co-workers to make the workday brighter and help improve the mental well-being of their peers – with a little help from their four-legged friends.

Parkview Pups is giving approximately 30 Parkview co-workers and their dogs the opportunity to become certified therapy dog and handler teams. Once certified, teams can visit Parkview facilities to provide comfort and emotional support for fellow co-workers.

Through the program, all canine companions are temperament tested and certified through Canine Good Citizen (CGC) and Alliance of Therapy Dogs (ATD) to ensure a positive and safe experience for all. Parkview Pups is funded entirely by the generosity of the Parkview Foundations, so there is no cost to co-workers.

In early August, the first four Parkview Pups teams to complete certification made their tail-wagging debut at a Parkview leadership meeting and began their visits in Parkview facilities. Fifteen teams will be certified by the end of September. 

Interacting with pets is proven to boost health and well-being, which is why Parkview continues to partner with Three Rivers Visiting Dogs, whose certified dogs and handlers visit primarily with hospital patients, and occasionally with co-workers. Parkview Pups was created to focus exclusively on the well-being of co-workers and allow co-workers the opportunity to support one another.

“We know that a visit with a friendly therapy dog can brighten someone’s day, improve their mood and put a smile on their face,” said Hallie Custer, vice president of Human Resources, Parkview Health. “Beyond that, no one understands the needs of our co-workers better than their fellow co-workers. Parkview Pups is an opportunity for them to partner with their beloved pets and help spread joy amongst their colleagues.” 

Parkview Pups is one of several benefit programs Parkview has to support its more than 15,000 co-workers. Recently certified as a Most Loved Workplace® by the Best Practice Institute, Parkview also uniquely offers volunteer time off (VTO), which may also be used for volunteering in the community or mental health time off; a quarterly lifestyle benefit stipend; flexible scheduling options and more. 

“Knowing that our co-workers are our most valuable resource, Parkview is continuously looking to offer unique benefits to support their overall well-being, both personally and professionally,” said Dena Jacquay, chief administrative officer, Parkview Health. “Parkview Pups is one of several programs we’ve created based on feedback from our co-workers, and we are excited to see these dog and handler teams bring even more love to our Most Loved Workplace.”

To learn more about Parkview’s culture and career opportunities, visit To learn more about supporting the Parkview Pups Program, please contact the Parkview Foundations at