Canine celebrity visits Phoebe Putney - WALB.com, Albany News, Weather, Sports

Canine celebrity visits Phoebe Putney

January 6, 2006

Albany -- Josh the golden retriever eases the fears of young patients, and is the inspiration for a book and toy set helping kids across the country.

Josh greets 18-month-old Kyndall Wood of Leesburg after she returns from surgery. She was given a Josh toy and book inspired by the golden retriever when she arrived at the hospital, .

Owner Dr. Randy Lange saw the need for a book to help children like Kyndall with their fear of going to the hospital, when his own daughter had to undergo surgery.

A Knoxville veterinarian, Lange knew a story about Josh could explain to kids on their level what is happening to them. "Josh goes in, has surgery, and recovers uneventfully. But we deal with all the different issues they are going to deal with."

Lange takes Josh to visit Children's Miracle Network hospitals across the country. The nurses at Phoebe greet him like a close friend, because they see everyday how well the Josh Project works.

Registered Nurse Judy Coleman said, "The kids take them to the operating rooms with them. Bring them back, and they are holding Josh when they get back from surgery."

Lange says the 7.5-year-old Josh gets very excited when it's time to visit hospitals, and has no plans to slow down. "If there is a child around, he will ignore the adults and focus on the kids. He just loves kids."

Nearly 30,000 Josh Project toy and book sets have been given to comfort children at hospitals. Today many got a chance to meet this inspirational celebrity in person. The Josh Project is funded by private donations.

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