Volunteer Spirit: Pups provide comfort and smiles to sick children

KNOXVILLE, Tenn It's not unusual to see Sam the Australian Labradoodle working the floors of East Tennessee Children's Hospital.

He's trained to keep the little patients occupied while they wait to see the doc.

It's animal assisted therapy.

Alexis Niceley with ETCH's Volunteer Services says, "It helps alleviate the stress and create normalcy for families to have the dogs here. It brightens their day when they enter the room."

Sam is one of 11 dogs that come here each week and greet the patients
and in some cases even show off with high five.

"Often times it helps the staff as well and it's not unusual to see doctors and nurses going down the hall and loving on them," Says Alexis.

Bella also gets a big dose of attention when she's on duty.

Bella's owner, Sandi Sanders says, "She loves her job. Look at her, she loves the attention."

Little girls cant keep their eyes nor their hands off the pink poodle..

Yes, a poodle that is pink, from head to toe.

Perhaps pooches are just "good" medicine.

Mike Cooper father of a patient says who kept hugging Bella says, "It lightens your heart. When she saw that dog, I saw her just being doldrums, trying to shake off the anesthesia to being wide awake and happy, and that's an amazing thing."

(Remember these are trained dogs, that go through a program like HABIT. Grab the link for more information.)


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