DANVILLE PA April 1 2021 – Visitors to Geisinger Medical Center might notice a new security officer roaming the halls.
She’s unarmed, but her sense of smell, keen hearing and constant alertness makes her a valued addition to Security Services.
K9 Aria is Geisinger’s first security dog.
“K9 Aria is from Czechoslovakia,” said Vicki Housner, lead security supervisor at Geisinger Medical Center and Aria’s handler.
“She is a German shepherd and will be two years old in April. I received my training with Aria at Shallow Creek Kennel, having spent six weeks at their location in Sharpsville, Pennsylvania.”
Housner and Aria can respond to any Geisinger facility requiring Aria’s skills. Their training takes advantage of the dog’s acute senses to make the medical center a safer place for staff and patients.
“Aria can not only sniff out dangerous items, she can also assist with tracking at-risk individuals who may wander off,” Housner said.
“Aria and I have bonded tremendously already and we have done close to 1,000 searches. She is right there with me. It’s a matter of me trusting her ability and knowing how she reacts.”
Aria is “a very mellow, loving dog but when it comes down to work, she’s ready to get going,” Housner said.
As with all service dogs, people are cautioned not to approach Aria without Housner’s permission. If the K9 is working, it might not be a good time to pet her.
“Aria is very loveable,” Housener said. “I believe she is going to win the hearts of everyone.”