Casper is a special dog that leaves a lasting impression. Casper is a certified service dog for Children’s at Scottish Rite. He is almost 4 years old and 3/4 golden retriever with 1/4 labrador. A huge hospital-wide birthday celebration is planned for his birthday on December 11th in the lobby of Children’s Healthcare Scottish Rite! A three piece band, 6 foot cake, doggie cupcakes, dog hats/games/crafts for all staff, patients, families and visitors! I am not surprised by the elaborate festivities planned for his birthday after spending time with Casper recently and witnessing the interaction he had with a 6 year old cancer patient, Creed.
Casper has been specially trained by Canine Assistants to help lift the spirits of very sick children. Casper knows he is “working” when he is with a patient. He must be perfectly still when sitting with a patient getting an IV or having a procedure. He will get up on the hospital bed with the patient, rest his head on them and just be their source of comfort. Casper is a big part of Creed’s life and has been there through many of his multiple procedures at Children’s, including his bone marrow biopsy. While I was there, Casper sat next to Creed and they played. Casper exuded calmness and it was obvious Creed’s mood became happier knowing Casper was there. Casper sat on the bed with Creed while the nurses tried for the 4th time that day to get an IV in Creed successfully. To read more about Creed, visit creedsstory. His mother has written an inspriing blog about Creed’s journey. Creed is due to go to Disney in Orlando soon. Please pray that this is a successful trip as last year their attempt was not.
Casper sits with patients having MRI’s, sedations, IV’s, he makes special patient visitations. Lisa Kinsel, Director of Volunteers at Scottish Rite, is also Casper’s handler. Lisa says she may get 10 calls throughout the day for Casper to make a special visit to a patient in need of comfort or motivation. [quote style=”boxed”]A patient in rehabilitation may respond better to Casper than an adult. Lisa mentioned a story where a young girl needed to walk in order to be released. She repeatedly refused. They brought Casper in to help out and she went home that day! [/quote] The special day was Christmas Eve and she was able to be home for the holidays!
Casper Fun Facts!! His hometown is Atlanta and he was born on December 11, 2007. His favorite movies are 101 Dalmations and Air Bud. He loves dog biscuits and Easy Cheese. His favorite website is www.choa.org and his favorite sports are hugging children, having his picture taken and meeting new friends.
Casper is not the only trained dog used at the hospital. I met Bella that works with children in the Stephanie V. Blank Center for Safe and Healthy Children. The center for Safe and Healthy Children has trained professionals that work together to minimize children’s trauma from abuse and/or neglect. Children’s promotes safety and well-being of children through the prevention, identification, assessment and treatment of abuts and neglect. Bella may sit with a child during their evaluation to ease their fears and anxieties. To learn more about this area of Children’s, please visit www.choa.org/childprotection.