Palmetto Health Children's Hospital welcomes Chiver, a 2-year-old yellow lab/golden retriever mix, to provide a sense of calm for kids undergoing physical therapy.
Chiver comes to the hospital in partnership with Palmetto Animal Assisted Life Services (PAALS). Physical therapist Bethany Clark brings Chiver to work every day.
Chiver was matched with Clark through PAALS, a nonprofit organization that trains service dogs for children and adults with physical limitations, autism and post-traumatic stress disorder. It also trains dogs to be skilled home companions for those who are homebound.
“Dogs like Chiver are specially trained for their environment and are able to help people improve in different aspects of their lives," Jennifer Rogers, PAALS executive director, said. “Sometimes the breakthroughs happen without patients even realizing it. It’s amazing to watch. The dogs are special and work to provide assistance depending on their job.”
Chiver has been trained in specific behaviors and techniques that enable him to encourage children to reach their goals, turning tough physical activities into positive interactions and more successful repetitions.
“Seeing how much more motivated kids can be when working with a dog was very exciting,” Clark said. “The families get to experience all the positive benefits of having a dog. Chiver is super calming for children with anxiety and autism. We look forward to seeing him build a bond with children from week to week.”