Have you met Oso? The 3-year-old Old English Bulldog is one of the youngest canine members of the Barbara Cowen POOCH Volunteer Program. As a POOCH volunteer, Oso and her human Dr. Thomas Kremen provide emotional comfort and unconditional love to patients and families in need of a little extra support.
Dr. Kremen is an orthopaedic surgeon at Cedars-Sinai. He already works full time at the medical center, but he didn’t hesitate to join the POOCH program when Oso became old enough.
When you walk into a room with a dog, it’s very hard not to have a positive impact on a patient’s life.
“Sometimes as a doctor, we get frustrated that we can’t fix every single problem,” says Dr. Kremen. “When you walk into a room with a dog, it’s very hard not to have a positive impact on a patient’s life.”
Oso was a natural fit for the program, says Dr. Kremen.
“She’s the perfect dog for this sort of thing. She really likes people—especially kids—and she wants everyone to play with her and pet her. Some dogs have an innate desire to be around people and are naturally gentle—that’s her personality.”
Oso joined the Kremen family as a puppy and just celebrated her third birthday. She loves chicken and will do anything to get her paws on some. She also enjoys showing off by balancing treats on her nose and loves going to the beach and riding in the car.
During their bi-weekly shifts, Oso and Dr. Kremen like to visit the infusion center at the Samuel Oschin Comprehensive Cancer Institute.
“When we go in there, I really get to enjoy why I went into medicine,” Dr. Kremen says. “Patients are so excited to see us and it’s a little escape for them.”
“It’s very rewarding to participate in this program. We get to help take patients away from the hospital, even if just for a little bit.”
Are you interested in joining the POOCH program? Learn more.