Nothing brings a smile to a human’s face like the goofy grin of a golden retriever. So when a young child has to undergo an unfamiliar procedure in the hospital, having a dog go first helps them see that things will be OK.
That’s what a hospital in the United Kingdom found with their Animal Assisted Intervention Team. In addition to their regular duties of looking cute and sharing snuggles, the pack of “dog-tors” from SCH Therapy Dogs demonstrate equipment for little ones feeling nervous.
Jessie, for example, is expert at showing kids how to handle an echocardiogram, an ultrasound of the heart. Here she is on the job in an Instagram post from the SCH Therapy Dogs account:
“She is very happy to lie on her back and have her tummy rubbed,” volunteer Lyndsey Uglow told Yahoo News Australia.
Hattie, Milo, Archie, Quinn, Leo and, of course, Jessie volunteer at Southampton Children’s Hospital with their handlers. When they’re not making rounds, the team shares photos and videos of the dogs getting pretend procedures. That way, staff on shift can use their phones to show the pics to patients.
“The children seem to trust [the dogs], and for many, the fact that the dog has done it, too, persuades them that it is OK,” Uglow said.
Here’s an adorable video, starring Leo, that explains how to do an X-ray, CT scan or MRI:
Meanwhile, in this photos, Archie sits patiently while getting some basic testing done before an “operation.”
Leo’s all gowned up, complete with a hospital ID band:
He’s at it again — good boy Leo showed one patient how to stay comfortable wearing a mask.
Having therapy dogs on the floor can brighten the days of the hospital staff, as well. Quinn demonstrates:
The pups get days off, too. Here’s most of the crew on a restorative nature walk:
This story is too sweet. I’m going to bookmark these pics in case my kids ever need some extra comfort at the hospital!