Meet Madison and her mom Diane! As members of the Barbara Cowen POOCH Volunteer Program, this dedicated team provides love and comfort to patients, visitors, and staff at Cedars-Sinai.
“I’ve never experienced anything like this; it’s so uplifting for everyone she meets,” says Diane. “It’s the most rewarding experience being a part of this program.”
Madison and Diane started volunteering with the POOCH program as soon as Madison was old enough. The miniature goldendoodle passed her certification tests when she was just a year old and started out by visiting the hospital’s waiting areas.
“I’ve never experienced anything like this; it’s so uplifting for everyone she meets. It’s the most rewarding experience being a part of this program.”
“Everybody loved her and she responded so well to it,” says Diane. “She has the gentle, calm personality needed for this.”
These days, during their regular shift on Friday mornings, the two visit patients in their rooms and always try to get to their favorite spot—the pediatric playroom.
“We love going there,” says Diane. “One time, we met a young patient who was very afraid of dogs. But he saw his siblings playing with Madison and giving her treats. By the end of our visit, he was petting her and playing with her too.”
Diane says Madison’s dad, Dr. Bruce Gewertz, surgeon-in-chief and chair of the Cedars-Sinai Department of Surgery, is especially proud of his furry daughter. “He jokes that she’s the only one of our children to go into healthcare.”
“People say seeing her is the best part of their day,” Diane says. “Madison has an effect on patients, nurses, and doctors alike. She helps bring down their stress.”
When they aren’t volunteering, Madison likes to go on walks with her sister, Cassie. She also loves to go for car rides, co-piloting from her seat on the center console. But coming to Cedars-Sinai is one of her favorite activities.
“When I whisper the word ‘POOCH’ to her, her tail starts wagging,” says Diane. “She knows it’s going to be a special day.”
Are you interested in joining the POOCH program? Learn more.