2017-10-13 / Front Page

Hospital therapy dog celebrates service anniversary

Contributed by Palmetto Health Children’s Hospital


Chiver, Palmetto Children’s Hospital therapy dog lives with Bethany Clark, pediatric physical therapist. Chiver, Palmetto Children’s Hospital therapy dog lives with Bethany Clark, pediatric physical therapist. When two-year-old yellow lab and golden retriever mix, Chiver, was selected to help motivate children to focus on therapy a year ago, the Children’s Outpatient Physical and Specialty Therapy team could not imagine the huge impact he would have.

Tuesday, October 10, Chiver celebrated his service anniversary as a therapy dog devoted to children at Palmetto Health Children’s Hospital Outpatient Physical and Specialty Therapy facility.

Chiver lives and works with pediatric physical therapist Bethany Clark. Palmetto Animal Assisted Life Services (PAALS) trained him in specific behaviors and techniques to enable him to serve as a tool and a motivator to help children accomplish therapy goals.

“Chiver has learned more than 70 behaviors that make therapy a lot more fun for my patients, and that list keeps growing,” said Clark. “Just having Chiver in the treatment room seems to change the dynamic of the session, making the child more at ease and more attentive. When a child doesn’t want to do an exercise, I will incorporate Chiver in the activity or ask the child to ‘show Chiver how you do it.’ That always works!”

When a child has to do a challenging exercise, Chiver will perform a “wait” behavior, with his treats resting on his paw until the child finishes the exercise. When the child is done, Chiver is done. This keeps the child’s attention off the hard work and more on the hard-working puppy.

“Chiver is unconditional love and affection that can be both calming and uplifting, especially for children who are aggressive or easily upset,” said Clark. “Chiver loves doing step-ups with the children. He loves meeting new people, he loves to give hugs and ‘kisses’ (where he touches his nose to your cheek), and he loves to play tug of war and retrieve balls and shoes. He is the epitome of a working dog who loves to have fun.”

“We are so excited to celebrate Chiver’s anniversary! He wore a crown with a sparkly gold No. 1 on it. We also served cookies that look like Chiver wearing his service cape. If Chiver is working, he’s happy, so Tuesday, October 10, was an extra special day,” said Clark.

About Palmetto Health Children’s Hospital

Palmetto Health Children’s Hospital is South Carolina’s first children’s hospital and has more than 150,000 children’s visits each year. It offers more than 30 subspecialties to meet the unique health care needs of children and has central South Carolina’s only Children’s Emergency Center.

With more than 350 professionals who work exclusively with children, According to the hospital, Palmetto Health Children's Hospital has a team of highly skilled and trained experts unmatched by any hospital in the Midlands. Palmetto Health Children’s Hospital is the place to go for children’s medical care, because the best care matters.

About PAALS

PAALS is a local nonprofit organization dedicated to training service dogs for children and adults with physical disabilities, autism, and post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD) as well as facility dogs and skilled home companions for those who are home bound.

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