PHILADELPHIA (WPVI) -- Children's Hospital of Philadelphia has officially welcomed its first, full-time trained facility dog.
Dilly, a two-year-old Labrador, will help ease anxiety and reduce stress for young patients and their families.
He is also trained to do tasks such as teaching children how to take a pill, keep them calm during medical interventions, provide incentives for them to get out of bed for a walk and much more.
Dilly's handler, Elizabeth Olson, talked with Action News about all that this specially-trained dog can do.
"So he's able to help with speech pathology sessions - physical therapy, occupational therapy. If they're working on helping a child with their hands, they can brush Dilly with a special brush. He can also help with coping and normalizing the hospital experience. He'll play board games with some of the kids if they're having a hard time coping, and he also helps kids who are afraid of dogs or haven't had a chance to interact with them to see them in a different light," Olson said.
Dilly was funded by donations from Dunkin' Joy in Childhood Foundation and Hope in the Air Foundation. He was raised and trained by Susquehanna Service Dogs, a program of Keystone Human Services that raises, trains and places service dogs and hearing dogs, as well as facility dogs, to assist children and adults with disabilities to become more independent.
"So the most amazing thing so far has been compliments like, 'I love Dilly so much. Dilly made my day so much better.' We've had some really interesting interactions where kids who haven't been speaking during speech sessions will say things like, 'Hi, Dilly,' and start speaking. It's really exciting," Olson said.