Akron Children’s Hospital celebrates one of its four-legged moms


It’s a story about Faith.


And the sick.

This Mother’s Day weekend, Akron Children’s Hospital is recognizing a different kind of mother.

This mother hen, uh, dog has watched over and calmed countless patients over the years at the hospital as part of her Doggie Brigade.

And this particular story comes full circle because Faith is a mother herself and the hospital just released a video about this special dog.

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She is a three-time dog mother and has given birth to 23 puppies.

One of her puppies who isn’t really a puppy anymore, Memphis, is 5 years old and has gone through the necessary training to participate in the Brigade and join her mother in visiting patients and making their day a little brighter.

Jeannie Bussey poses outside Akron Children's Hospital with her dog Faith.

But that journey of faith began with manager Jeannie Bussey.

A real tail

Bussey, a Uniontown dog breeder, said she saw firsthand the joy of visits from specially trained dogs brought to patients when her own grandson was a patient there about 15 years ago.

“I saw what it did for him on the days when he really needed this stuff,” she said.

She leaned into the program which turns 30 this year and volunteered to tour with her Bernese Mountain Dogs.

Bussey said she’s witnessed some pretty amazing times over the years and the sweetness shown by such big, loving dogs.

“The dogs do all the work,” she said. “Faith is really good at knowing a patient’s needs and sometimes just being a silent listener.”

Wendy McGill Sawyer, and her dog Memphis, and Jeannie Bussey, and her dog Faith, are part of the Doggie Brigade at Akron Children's Hospital.  Faith is Memphis' mother.

It was the love of race and Faith that captured the attention and heart of Wendy Sawyer, a resident of Cuyahoga Falls who works in volunteer services at the hospital.

A new generation

Sawyer decided to take his own leap of faith and become a dog mom in Memphis – one of Faith’s puppies.

Memphis is Sawyer’s second Bernese mountain dog.

Payton was part of the Doggie Brigade and had died about a year before meeting Memphis.

“I fell in love as soon as I saw it,” she said.

Five years later, Memphis is about to join the ranks of the Doggie Brigade after completing his training.

Sawyer said she just had some training to do as a manager.

“Memphis has done its part, now it’s up to mom.”

Craig Webb, whose yellow lab Bailey may be joining the floor-licking squad, can be reached at [email protected]


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