Michigan Medicine has a new four-legged staff member on duty!
We’re excited to introduce K9 Leo! Leo will be working to bring an additional layer of security and comfort to our Michigan Medicine community.
Leo serves two primary roles at Michigan Medicine: pet therapy and explosive detection. The combination of these two skills allows K9 Leo and his K9 handler, Security Officer Paul Meyers, to work together to alleviate anxiety and ensure safety at the hospital for patients and staff alike.
A German Shepherd bred in the Czech Republic specifically for a life of service, Leo was flown to the United States in January, at the age of 15 months.
K9 Leo began his on-the-job training on February 12th and has already encountered many new friends along the way.
K9 Leo and Security Officer Meyers are constantly immersed in training to ensure proper obedience skills become ingrained. After 12 weeks of training, Leo has earned his certified as a hospital security K-9 this week.
“I always thought that praise-based training would be difficult, but Leo proved me wrong,” said Meyers.
“He learned all of our certifiable tasks as quickly as he did because he wanted my approval and to make me happy. The training has been as much for me to learn about him as it has been for him to learn his skills,” he added.
With the increased uncertainty and elevated levels of stress that accompany the COVID-19 pandemic, it is increasingly apparent that Leo could not have come at a better time. While Michigan Medicine employees are working around the clock, the comforting presence of this furry friend is being used as a bright spot when days and stressors are seemingly endless.
“When people are dealing with a tough situation, the solid, non-judgmental presence of a dog can bring a feeling of peace and calm,” stated Michigan Medicine Security Director, Brian Uridge.
“We are very thankful we can offer K9 Leo’s support in addition to the presence of our officers during this time of uncertainty. We hope that Leo’s presence amplifies the impact of our measures to keep Michigan Medicine safe and reduce anxiety a little further for both our patients and staff,” he said.
Please join us in welcoming K9 Leo to our Michigan Medicine Security team—and remember not to get him confused with our new lead police officer, Theo! Both have been serving up smiles since their arrival.
“I have been thankful every day since January 13th to have Leo in our family,” said Security Officer Meyers. “He fulfilled my desire to make a greater impact here at the hospital with every shift we work.”
All DPSS emergency and non-emergency services remain available across campus. DPSS is still available 24/7 at (734) 763-1131 or 911 in emergencies.