New therapy dog snuggles with patients at OHSU

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OHSU Hope therapy dog_142666

PORTLAND, Ore. (KOIN 6) — OHSU’s new Chief Canine Officer made her public debut Tuesday morning at Doernbecher Children’s Hospital.

Hope the 2-year-old Golden Retriever is the hospital’s newest “employee”. She joined OHSU Doernbecher about three months ago to help provide comfort and companionship to children battling serious illnesses.

“In the short time she’s been with us, Hope has had visible impact on the health and well-being of our patients, families and staff,” OHSU said in a press release.

Hope lives with her handler, Sandra Westfall, who is the manager of OHSU Doernbecher’s Child Life Program. Westfall traveled to Maui, Hawaii in January to undergo intensive training with Hope’s trainers, Will and Mo Maurer with Assistance Dogs of Hawaii. She is now certified in Animal Assisted Therapy.

Hope’s duties include cuddling on the bed with patients and family members, playing fetch, grooming, taking short walks and more.

Her favorite command? Snuggles.

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