photo 2008 Angela | more info (via: Wylio)
Hat tip to Denise for providing a link to an excellent article. The article describes the work of a new team member at one of the world’s most prestigious hospitals.
The new team member is Nilani, a specially trained working dog. Here are some quotes from the article.
A friendly dog with a wagging tail, who likes to have her ears scratched and is always willing to “sit” and “shake,” is the perfect dose of medicine for many kids at UCSF Benioff Children’s Hospital.
Two-year-old Nilani called Lani by the kids is a crossbreed golden retriever and Labrador, who dons a blue vest to distinguish herself as a working dog. As a “facility” dog, she is expertly trained to work in a hospital setting with the overall goal of normalizing the hospital experience for patients, easing their stress and anxiety, and providing unconditional love and attention.
The article points out that Nilani does more than comfort the children. She also helps motivate them to get well.
Nilani is comfortable doing such things as being led on a second leash one being held by Belke and the other by a young patient who might just be motivated to get out of bed that morning if they can take Nilani for a walk in the courtyard.
A simple game of fetch where the child sits on a therapy ball and throws a tennis ball for Nilani can double as an exercise in improved balance and coordination.
For regular updates on Nilani’s work, check out her handler’s blog.
Photo: Not Nilani, but who can resist a Yellow Lab puppy?