ECU Health Medical Center has a new resident canine ready to assist with patients' care both physically and mentally. Clive, a golden retriever and yellow lab mix, is a registered service dog and therapy dog who clocks in twice a week to bring comfort to patients and team members.
When Clive enters the hospital for work, he clocks in and receives his list of patients for the day. Some patients may need assistance with their fine motor skills, while others may need emotional support while adjusting to a new disability or being away from home.
"Clive and I partner up with a physical therapist or an occupational therapist and work on developing patients' mobility or other issues they may be having that brought them to our inpatient rehab,"
said Kasey Shue, recreational therapist and Clive's handler at ECU Health Medical Center. "We work with patients on throwing a ball if they need to work on their hand strength, feed him small treats if they need to work on their fine motor skills or walk Clive if the patient needs to work on their mobility."
Clive is a service dog, which means he is trained to assist and perform tasks for people with disabilities, which can include opening and closing doors, retrieving items, turning lights on and off and other skills that assist owners with everyday tasks. This training is especially helpful in a physical therapy setting, where Clive helps patients walk with assistance or open doors for patients that may be using a mobility device such as a walker.
As a therapy dog, Clive spends his time snuggling with patients who may be having a hard time transitioning to a hospital setting or may be missing their dog at home while staying at the hospital. Clive can provide distractions for those who are experiencing anxiety or sadness and instead bring smiles and joy. Clive's service skills and his people-loving personality make him the perfect team member at ECU Health.
"A service dog is specifically trained to do certain tasks for somebody with a disability,"
said Clive's owner and outpatient rehab supervisor Tanya Bowen. "A therapy dog provides a service for people other than their owner, which includes comfort, and they have to be very friendly and outgoing because there's a lot of people that want to pet them. They have to be calm and loving, so he's kind of like a little combination of both."
Clive is also very popular among team members at the medical center.
"A lot of health care workers face stressful situations, and Clive is there to offer comfort and snuggles to the team members at work,"
said Shue. "Clive really brings an invaluable asset to the team. If you see him walking the halls, please feel free to stop and pet him. That's what he's here for."
ECU Health Public Relations