You know what would make hospitals a whole lot better? Dogs. Dogs make everything better. I’m not the only one that thinks that though. A children’s hospital in Pennsylvania has gotten themselves a new employee. Kaia, a golden retriever, is the first full-time facility dog at a hospital in Pennsylvania.
Kaia is about 2 years old and helps calm down patients and ease their anxiety before tests and procedures. She is learning to help patients specifically in the radiology and radiation oncology departments, like during CT scans.
Ashley Kane, the manager of Child Life Program, said, “Kaia can demonstrate how to lay nice and still and flat like she’s doing now. And hopefully the child would feel more comfortable being under that big camera or less anxious that something will hurt them when Kaia shows them it’s really not too scary.”
Kaia works full-time: 40 hours a week.
“Having Kaia here really 8 hours a day every day just makes it possible for more families, more kids to have those interactions when they’re having a moment where they just need something special to brighten their day,” Kane said.
Kaia is different than a therapy dog. She’s actually a service dog.
“She’s just a little bit different, a little more specialized, and had a little more intensive training using a different approach to help her know what to do here in a hospital,” Kane said.
Kane said, “I just think it really improves the mood of everyone here in the hospital. It’s been wonderful to see everyone be so happy.”
Kaia also loves her job:
Kane said, “When she’s at home with me, she’s just a typical dog. But when her vest is on and she’s here at the hospital, this is her job. This is work for her. And I think she enjoys it. She seems pretty comfortable in her new environment. So we’re really excited that she’s here.”
FYI only about 30 children’s hospitals across the country have facility dogs like Kaia.
It is a well-known fact that golden retrievers make great working dogs. They are also usually very well tempered dogs with bright personalities. It makes perfect sense that a golden retriever would work in a hospital.
This breed is also known for being highly sensitive. Therefore, Kaia will be probably be in tune with the patient’s feelings. Which is probably why she is so good at calming them. Golden retrievers are also great with kids and is overall very people friendly. All of this really does make them perfectly equipped for this line of work.
Animals have worked in public places like this before. Sometimes they even work at retirement homes to cheer up the elderly. I’ve even heard of a pig who goes to a school for special needs children. He really makes those kids happy.
What do you think about having a golden retriever work in a hospital? Do you think it’s a good idea? Or do you think it’s a bad idea? Let us know in the comments below.