GREENVILLE, N.C. (WITN) – ECU Health Medical Center has added a new member to its team to support and comfort patients.
The hospital system says Clive, a golden retriever and yellow lab mix, is a registered service and therapy dog who will come twice a week to comfort patients and team members.
ECU Health says some patients may need help with their fine motor skills and others may need emotional support while adjusting to a new disability or being away from home. Clive will get a list of patients when he arrives for the day and help them all.
“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,” Kasey Shue, recreational therapist and Clive’s handler at ECU Health Medical Center said. “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.”
Because Clive is a service dog, WITN is told he is trained to help and do tasks for people with disabilities, which can include opening and closing doors, getting items, turning lights on and off and other skills that help owners with everyday tasks.
ECU Health says Clive’s training is especially helpful with physical therapy, where he can help patients walk or open doors for them.
As a therapy dog, Clive will snuggle with patients who may need it and can distract those who are anxious or sad.
“Clive’s service skills and his people-loving personality make him the perfect team member at ECU Health,” the hospital system says.
Tanya Bowen is Clive’s owner and the outpatient rehab supervisor. She says a service dog is specifically trained to do tasks for someone with a disability.
“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,” Bowen said. “They have to be calm and loving, so he’s kind of like a little combination of both.”
Clive is apparently also very popular among the staff at ECU Health 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,” Shue said. “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.”