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7:14 PM Sun, Oct. 21st

Full-time pulmonologist sets up shop in Kingman

Miner Photo/TERRY ORGAN

Charlene Haffner, left, a member of Mutt Matchers & Friends, introduces Braille to Christie Freiday, owner of Stat Medical Supplies, on Monday.

Freiday became Braille's sponsor after learning the dog is blind and will require special training to become certified as a therapy dog.

"She was a stray with no identification," said Sandy Spruiell, an animal control officer with the Kingman Police Department and president of Mutt Matchers & Friends.

"They contained her and thought she was injured because she didn't look right.

"It turned out Braille had no eyeballs, so we took her in to give her owners a chance to find her.

We normally keep strays three working days, and we still had her after five days because she endeared herself to our shelter personnel."

The owners of Braille eventually contacted Animal Control and learned their pet was there.

"We asked them why they'd taken so long to contact us," Spruiell said.

"They said they thought she would come home because she always had in the past."

The owners chose not to claim Braille, so she was placed with Mutt Matchers & Friends, which operates a dog and cat adoption center opposite Animal Control on Buchanan Street.

The center only takes in canines or felines scheduled for euthanasia, member Charlene Haffner said.

"When I heard there was a blind dog at the shelter, I went down to see her," Haffner said.

"She seems smart and capable of taking care of herself, despite her blindness.

"We would not allow her to be euthanized, so we adopted her and began taking her out for runs.

The first time I saw her running free I was amazed because she uses all of her other senses (to avoid running into objects)."

Christie Freiday, owner of Stat Medical, was out of town the day her employees brought Braille into her business.

She was moved by what she learned and decided to become Braille's sponsor.

"We're going to pay the costs for her training, shots and whatever other care she needs," Freiday said.

Spruiell, who plans to retire from the KPD on July 28 after 13 years with the department, will handle much of the training that will lead to Braille being certified as a therapy dog.

Spruiell will be guided by a certified handler from the Delta Society, which is based in Renton, Wash.

A workshop for that training is planned in Kingman on Aug.

7, she said.

Haffner said several candidates are being considered to adopt Braille.

Spruiell added that she would like that person to become a certified therapy dog handler and that she and Haffner will go through the therapy training as well.

"We eventually want to take Braille into local schools to help educate children in responsible pet care," Spruiell said.

Braille must remain the responsibility of Mutt Matchers & Friends for at least six months before she can be tested for certification as a therapy dog, Haffner said.

"We'd like to take her to the Gardens Care Center and the children's ward at the hospital so people who are injured or ill can see her mental attitude," Haffner said.

"Braille has a disability, but her attitude is such that she's an inspiration to people.

"Blindness does not deter her in any way from being happy."

Spruiell said Braille probably was born without eyeballs, or if she ever had vestiges of them, they have long since atrophied to the point where they are not usable.

The test Braille must pass to gain therapy-dog certification includes obedience and temperament.

"Once Braille is certified, she gets under Delta Society liability insurance," Haffner said.

"She must get used to wheelchairs, walkers, crutches and all things a medical environment may have."KINGMAN – People with chronic lung problems no longer have to wait a week for tests or care from a visiting pulmonologist.

Dr.

Robert Matheny began practicing with Kingman Pulmonary Associates in the Medical Professional Building at Kingman Regional Medical Center on July 8.

He shares an office with Dr.

Richard Riedy, a Scottsdale-based pulmonologist and sleep disorder specialist who comes to Kingman once a week.

Matheny, who has family in the Mesa area, said he is happy to be able to practice in Arizona after completing his medical training in the New York and New Jersey areas.

He visited KRMC in September and met with hospital officials and doctors.

"They showed me what they had to offer, and I was very impressed with the hospital," Matheny said.

"For a small community, they have a state-of-the-art facility with a full range of services, including a cancer center and fully operational sleep center.

"I find it difficult to believe they've been able to do all they have without a full-time pulmonologist on staff."

Matheny began working toward becoming a pulmonologist by taking two years of basic science training at St.

George's University School of Medicine in Grenada.

That was followed by two years of clinical training at several hospitals in New York and New Jersey.

He did an internal medicine residency for three years and pulmonary critical care fellowship for another three years at St.

Michael's Medical Center in Newark, N.J.

Matheny will diagnose and treat people with such conditions as asthma, emphysema, chronic obstructive pulmonary disease, chronic bronchitis, lung cancer, pulmonary fibrosis and pulmonary hypertension.

"I feel I'll be able to provide continuity of care and monitor a patient's progress on treatment," he said.

"I'll be better able to provide diagnostic services, and since I'm here full time, will be better able to care for them when they wind up in the hospital."

Kingman Pulmonary Associates accepts most types of medical insurance including Medicare and Arizona Health Care Cost Containment System.

Patients can be seen with referrals from their primary care physician or by appointment if they have no PCP, Matheny said.

Matheny's wife, Janeen, works in the practice as office manager.

They have two sons, Gregg, 18, and Collin, 12.

"Mohave County should have a lower incidence of allergies since the air is quite dry," Matheny said.

"But we also have a large influx of retirees that are smokers arriving in their sixth and seventh decade (of smoking).

"Many of them are in need of diagnoses for smoker-related problems now beginning to manifest themselves."

Kingman Pulmonary Associates may be contacted at 757-3133.