canines safety partnership

Donor-funded K-9 program provides patient security and therapy

“A combative patient in an HonorHealth emergency room is screaming and throwing items while the physician tries to talk to her. An HonorHealth K-9 security team — comprised of a dedicated security officer and his trained canine — arrives and stands outside the door. Suddenly, a tense and potentially dangerous situation is instantly diffused by the mere presence of the handler and her dog. The patient calms down, listens to the doctor and agrees to cooperate.”
— James Marconato, K-9 Program Lead

Canines and healthcare are a community partnership that elevates the quality of healthcare for Arizonans and their families undergoing medical treatment at any of HonorHealth’s six Valley locations. HonorHealth’s K-9 Security Program comprises a group of 12 highly trained handlers and protection dogs that ensure the safety of patients, staff and community while they receive and give care.

Our canine officer candidates are imported from Holland through the generosity of donors and both canines and their handlers go through a strict 6-week K-9 training academy at HonorHealth to certify as a team through the National Police Canine Association (NPCA). The dogs are then certified as Protection Patrol Dogs and become part of the HonorHealth staff. The dogs also receive a 19-point test to ensure they can easily maneuver from protection dog to therapy dog for staff and patients as needed.

All K-9 expenses, such as acquisition, training, equipment, food, supplies, boarding and vet care, are completely funded through the generosity of donors.
     • $5 will provide shampoo to keep our K-9s fresh & clean.
     • $15 will provide a K-9 with a new heavy-duty toy.
     • $25 will feed one K-9 for two weeks.
     • $75 will cover a wellness visit for one K-9.
     • $100 will provide a new patrol leash for each of the K-9s.
     • $600 will feed one K-9 for an entire year.
     • $1,200 will provide a new specialty harness for each K-9.
     • $2,500 sponsors a K-9 Officer

Valerie and Bill Pihl

Donors Valerie and Bill Pihl recently gifted HonorHealth’s K-9 Security Program with a delightful and dutiful Belgian Malinois named Web. Imported from Holland, Web was chosen from a pool of 30 – 50 canines, and completed his certification shortly after his 2nd birthday. Web is named in honor of Valerie’s brother, Wayne Edgar Barlow, who died of complications from Lou Gehrig’s disease. Valerie and Bill are self-described “dog lovers,” and visited Web during his training. As a HonorHealth Foundation Board member, Bill understands and supports the expansion of safety protocols in our hospitals. Read more about the Pihl's HonorHealth Foundation philanthropy.

Millie Jacoby

Millie Jacoby recently bequeathed $250,000 to upgrade the K-9 training field located in Scottsdale. Millie had the chance to interact with the K-9 Officers and their handler during her 20-years of volunteering at HonorHealth’s Osborn Campus. She also enjoyed watching the dogs train on the field near the HonorHealth Shea Campus. Her bequest will help rebuild the field with grass and training infrastructure.