While Pongo is certainly an affectionate companion to Mercy Home’s kids and coworkers, he’s anything but a pet—he’s a working facility dog.
Facility dogs are different from pets. They are expertly trained dogs who work side-by-side with a human facilitator in a variety of settings to motivate and inspire clients with special needs.
In educational environments, a facility dog helps engage students around the school and in special education classes. In health care settings, activities such as feeding, grooming, and playing fetch with a facility dog can promote wellness and assist patients in rehabilitation and psychiatric programs.
In visitation settings such as Mercy Home for Boys & Girls, well-mannered facility dogs like Pongo encourage calm feelings of safety and serenity, thanks to their most valued asset: the unconditional love and attention they give to people with whom they interact.
Pongo may have a job to do—as noted by the special vest he wears when on the clock—but our beloved facility dog still knows how to have fun, whether it’s playing fetch with our kids, going on walks in the neighborhood, or brushing up on the 40-plus commands he can perform. But when he’s all tuckered out, he loves nothing more than curling up on a bean bag with one of our kids and taking a doggy doze. It’s all in a day’s work.