Methodist Healthcare System | Keeping Well | Winter 2023 5 KEEPINGWELL —WINTER 2023 the dogs create a portal to safety, giving people permission to let their guard down, tears drop, smiles expand, and simply feel. Whatever the feeling under the surface, it was ushered out. Our next destination was the Uvalde Police Department. Smiles and wagging tails seemed very out of place with the emotional heaviness of the station, but Jason, Brandon, and Frankie respectfully persisted, finding common ground to initiate conversations with the guarded, subdued staff. Lady marched to the center of the tense room, rolled over and lay motionless on her back. I’m told that she uses this tactic frequently, waiting people out until they finally give in as she shamelessly beckons for belly rubs. After four solid minutes of patient stillness, an officer approached and caressed her face. For the first time in several minutes, her tail wagged and the energy of the room began to shift. Chanel and Fresca used Methodist Hospital | Atascosa encourages good neighbors Methodist Hospital | Atascosa and the Pleasanton Express partnered to encourage the community to celebrate Good Neighbor Week, encouraging residents of Atascosa County to be good neighbors now and always. In 1978, President Jimmy Carter officially named September 28 National Good Neighbor Day, recognizing that human values and consideration for others are essential to our system of civilization. National Good Neighbor Week is a special time to care for neighbors to form or maintain friendships. As part of the observance, Methodist Hospital | Atascosa provided free breakfast and lunch for first responders at their cafeteria. “We know that the community has been through many trials and tribulations over the past few years but taking care of one another and lifting each other up makes a big impact. National Good Neighbor Day encouraged us all to be kind to one another and maybe find a way to pay it forward! One small act of kindness can make a big impact in someone’s life,” said Greg Seiler, Chief Executive Officer at Methodist Hospital | Atascosa. First responders pick up meals at the hospital. From left, Celeste Brizzee, Interim CNO; Greg Seiler, CEO; and Joe Vasquez, CFO. Lady, Fresca, Chanel and their humans helped ease stress at the police department as well. their superpowers too. Able to read body language and detect energies, they each assessed the humans in the room and made a beeline for those experiencing the most emotional distress. As the tensions eased, each EMS manager stepped through the gate left propped open by their dog and went deeper into their conversations with the officers. “My wife can always tell what kind of day I’ve had just based on the behavior of Chanel when we get home,” commented Brandon. “On days when the dogs encounter staff feeling particularly anxious or down, the dogs will often display more exhaustion and retreat to bed early. They really do absorb the energies of us humans. It’s like they unburden us from our darkest feelings and selflessly take them on themselves.” “You can’t underestimate the power of judgment-free love,” added Jason. “Most people don’t know the intensive training and skill involved because they only see a panting, welcoming face. These dogs are such masters of their craft. They are the cure to a sadness many didn’t allow themselves to realize they had.”