Pets allowed into Addictions Recovery Center help rehab patients

Medford, Ore. — The Addictions Recovery Center has been welcoming pets into the program, along with their human patients, bringing a one-hundred percent success rate. NBC5 News first brought you the story when it was launched in 2012. Now four years later, staff says the four-legged friends are making all the difference to patients.

“He’s never left my side, so it really brings hope,” Jenny Hayes said. “Allowing part of your family, your pet, come into the picture, is really helpful.”

Hayes and her dog Shorty have been together for seven years, a bond that Hayes wasn’t willing to break during her recovery from substance abuse.

“You feel like you’ve lost everything at times, so with your pet, with the ARC being able to let your pet in, it’s been extremely helpful,” Hayes said.

The Addictions Recovery Center just recently began allowing pets into the program. Four years later, they’ve had 41 animals come and go. According to Christine Larson, the Program Coordinator, it wasn’t something they originally planned.

“I like to think of our pet program as the program that found us,” Larson said.

NBC5 News first told you about it back in 2012, when the very first dog Sammy needed help getting from Utah, back home to her owner, a resident.

“She received word that her dog would be taken to the pound, so as a team we tried everything we could to see about getting the dog here,” Larson said.

After a good samaritan from Grants Pass took an extended road trip to pick up the pooch, Larson said the program launched itself. Since then, they’ve seen a one-hundred percent success rate with the program.

“Our clients that bring pets to treatment stay longer, and of course length of stay is very important to length of remaining clean and sober, and they’re not returning,” Larson said.

And for those still in program, like Hayes, it’s an opportunity that has meant everything.

“You don’t have to leave your dog behind, your dog can come with you!”

For more information on the pet program, click here.

Natalie Weber produces and anchors NBC5 News at 6 and 11 during the weekend. She also reports during the week for NBC5 News at 5 and 6. Natalie began her career in journalism as an intern with NBC5 News during her senior year at South Medford High School. Following graduation, she was promoted to Producer for the morning news broadcast for NBC’s sister station, FOX26, then to Producer for NBC5 News at Sunrise.

Natalie took a break from news to work for the Medford Police Department as a Records Specialist. However she missed the fast-paced environment of the newsroom. Natalie moved back to her hometown of Eureka, California to start her on-air career with North Coast News KAEF ABC 23 before returning once again to NBC5 News.

Natalie attended Southern Oregon University. She enjoys spending time with friends and family as well as running, reading and exploring Southern Oregon.

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