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Children's Hospital and Medical Centers welcomes second therapy dog

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Posted at 4:43 PM, Nov 20, 2018
and last updated 2018-11-20 17:43:13-05

Children’s Hospital and Medical Center’s held a paw-ty Tuesday morning to welcome it’s newest therapy dog Sansa.

The new pup will allow for more patient interactions and will help spread a little more love. 

She is a 1.5-year-old Goldendoodle.

Her first day on the job, greeting children at her paw-ty, was busy.

“You've got another friend to say hi to,” Debbie Snyder, Certified Child Life Specialist and dog handler said. 

“I miss having dog friends,” one patient said.

“I know I bet,” Snyder said.  “Whenever you're here, you know you have friends here with Sansa and Sven, right?

Sansa joins the child life team with Sven, who has been comforting patients for two years now.

“Sven's workload just became too great,” Terry Patterson, Manager of Family Resources at Children’s said. “We had to add a second dog. She is going to work in outpatient areas with hematology population.”

Both dogs are here to help in ways people cannot.

“I think they are really important just for positive coping,” Snyder said. “Just normalizing the environment, they can take some of that hospital stuff that is hard and give them something to look forward to.”

“Help us motivate them and show them how to work with us during the procedures,” Patterson said.

She trained to be a service dog for her first year of life in Atlanta before moving here.

“She knows when her pack is on she is working,” Snyder said.  “She stays nice and calm, she’s able to help patients with therapeutic intervention, IVs, be support for them.” 

But when she is at home with the Snyder family she gets to be a regular dog.

“She'll take her pack off and let her hair down,” Snyder said.  “She gets a little sassy but that’s ok.”