Josh's adventure heals kids -, Albany News, Weather, Sports

Josh's adventure heals kids

February 3, 2005

Albany-- Being in the hospital can be frightening, especially for children. Thursday, the fears of some hospitalized south Georgia children were eased by an unlikely visitor.

Faces lit up as Josh walked into Phoebe Putney's Pediatric Unit. The golden retriever visits kids at hospitals to tell his adventure of getting well.

"Adventures can be scary, but they can also be very fun," said Dr. Randall Lange of the The Josh Project.

Josh's adventure started when his owner Dr. Randall Lange, a veterinarian from Knoxville, Tennessee, took his nervous daughter to the hospital for a tonsillectomy. "I went to the library to try to find literature to share with her that might ease her fears and answers her questions."

But, he couldn't find any. So, he and his friend Doug Lesher decided to write their own book. The main character is-- Josh!

"We take Josh through a hospital visit at Dr. Rick's Animal Hospital." Josh undergoes blood test and X-rays, like many of these children. And, the book comes with a stuffed Josh.

"He goes with them. At the end of the story Josh says 'you've gone through my adventure of getting well, and I want to go through yours, so take me with you.' "

"They can take Josh puppy. If they have to go into x-ray, Josh can lay on the table next to them and Josh can be waiting when they wake up from surgery."

And, the real Josh is pretty popular too. "He's an inspiration. He has a books, dolls, and a good personality," said Patient Emory Childs.

Josh helps to take kids' minds off their illness and gives them hope that they too can get well soon. 26,000 Josh books and stuffed animals have been sold around the world. A portion of the proceeds go to the Children's Miracle Network.

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