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"Fidos for Freedom" Therapy Dogs Help Lift Spirits
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Meaghan Gilmore, Red Cross intern
July 30, 2009

Green canvas vests with the words Therapy dogs- Please pet me adorn their furry backs.  A team of eight dogs sits patiently with their American Red Cross trainers at the National Naval Medical Center in Bethesda, MD, anxiously awaiting the prospect of meeting new friends.  These “Fidos for Freedom” help uplift spirits just by going about their usual business - panting, sitting, and nuzzling new friends.

One of the Fidos for Freedom Therapy Dogs enjoys the picnic.
One of the Fidos for Freedom Therapy Dogs enjoys the picnic.

Photo credit- Meaghan Gilmore

“Fidos for Freedom” is a therapy dog organization based out of Baltimore, MD.  They provide comfort and reassurance to everyone they meet - the old, the young, the wounded.  On a day perfect for a summer picnic, the dogs and their Red Cross trainers recently participated in the annual Family Fun Day at the Navy’s medical facility in Bethesda.  Tents filled with food and bouncy castles for the children were scattered across the field.  The most powerful part of the picnic was the therapy dogs’ station.

The dogs touch the hearts of those with whom they come in contact without uttering a single word.  The team is small.  Their mission is simple: to improve the quality of life and provide companionship to others.  They fulfilled that mission, uplifting the spirits of Bethesda employees and their families.

Smiles lit up the faces of all who visited the “Fidos for Freedom” station. Worries and stress evaporated for everyone who extended a hand to pet the dogs.  The dogs brightened the day for everyone at the picnic, and no one was immune to their charm.

Many different opportunities are available if you are interested in becoming a Red Cross volunteer.  Help your community during disasters.  Support the needs of hospital patients in your area by helping at blood drives.  Honor the men and women serving our country in the military by volunteering through the Service to Armed Forces programs. 

For more information, contact your nearest Red Cross chapter, or visit www.redcross.org.   

About the American Red Cross:
The American Red Cross shelters, feeds and counsels victims of disasters; provides nearly half of the nation's blood supply; teaches lifesaving skills; and supports military members and their families. The Red Cross is a charitable organization — not a government agency — and depends on volunteers and the generosity of the American public to perform its humanitarian mission. For more information, please visit www.redcross.org or join our blog at www.redcrosschat.org.

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