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ProMedica introduces the use of a dual-purpose canine

Jozef is a two-year-old Shepard Dog from Slovakia. He will be used for both safety and comfort with ProMedica Health Systems.

TOLEDO, Ohio — "Sit" and "sniff" are some of the words you may hear at ProMedica Toledo Hospital. That's because for the first time at ProMedica, the hospital introduced a dog to it's security team. 

The community and patients were formally introduced to Jozef, the hospital's dual-purpose canine.

Jozef is a 2-year-old Shepard Dog from Slovakia. He will be used for both safety and comfort with ProMedica Health Systems.

"He's a big goofball, as you can see here. He's just laying on the ground, chewing his ball, not a care in the world. When he has his ball there's not a care in the world," Jozef's security handler, Nicholas Buchan said.

But when it's time for business, he means business.

"When we're walking around he's very on it. He'll on his own start sniffing stash cans, start sniffing tables, drawers, everything like that because he knows we're looking for stuff like that sometimes," Buchan said.

Jozef is an additional resource for the hospital to help enhance their services. He is trained in searching and tracking items like firearms but also in therapy and compassion.

"He is the first of three. So, we have two more dogs planned over the next two years so that we'll have a 24/7 presence here," said ProMedica Security Administrative Director, Brad Conner.

Jozef began his rounds in December. Officials said at first people were scared and confused on why there was a dog, but now they love him.

"He's been received very favorably by the employees, actually visitors, anyone who gets a chance to see him in the hospital," said Conner.

"Sometimes just seeing a dog in the hospital can help people relax and take their mind of whatever they have going on" said Buchan. 

Jozef is a working dog, but is allowed to be pet once the handler gives the 'OK'. Buchan said since this is a first, there's a lot of figuring things out day-by-day.

Jozef and the other two dogs will be making their rounds at ProMedica Toledo Hospital and their other facilities.

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