Therapy dog in training works at local children’s clinic

Therapy dog in training works at local children’s clinic

AMARILLO, Texas (KFDA) - A six-year-old mini Aussie named Jack has been roaming the halls of Amarillo Children's Clinic for about three weeks.

He’s the family dog of Practice Manager Kelly White and she started bringing him to work to help their pediatric patients.

“Kids that are having to have a procedure done or vaccine or lab draws to maybe focus their attention on a dog and get used to that and it would help them through,” she said.

Jack’s more than just a furry, friendly face. He’s now undergoing training to become an official therapy dog.

Right now, White says he’s getting used to the sights and sounds of the clinic.

“He loves kids, he loves people. He’s never been around a setting where there’s just tons of noise,” she said. “We have wheelchairs that come in, we have medical carts rolling down the hall, and that kind of stuff, so I want to make sure that he’s comfortable with all that.”

A six-year-old mini Aussie named Jack has been roaming the halls of Amarillo Children's Clinic for about three weeks. (Source: KFDA)
A six-year-old mini Aussie named Jack has been roaming the halls of Amarillo Children's Clinic for about three weeks. (Source: KFDA) (Source: KFDA)

The nurses say they love having him around.

“All the kids are happy to see him and he’s very good with little kids. I think dogs make your day better,” said family nurse practitioner Chrissa Young.

“He walks through the clinic, he just kind of roams on his own,” said family nurse practitioner Allegra Kinzer. “He can come into the treatment rooms with us and the exam rooms if the parents are okay with it and the kids are okay with it. Just kind of ease their day a little bit, make them a little less nervous.”

White says he’s been a real morale booster.

“The employees love coming in and seeing him when they get here,” she said. " I’m usually the first one here and bring him with me in the mornings and when they come to work, their spirits are just lifted."

White says even a pediatric clinic can become stressful, especially with the high volume of visits for back-to-school vaccinations and during flu season.

She’s glad the clinic’s doctors are supportive of Jack and that workplaces in general are becoming more supportive of therapy dogs.

“I just think it makes the world happier. I think it makes people more comfortable and maybe a little friendlier,” said White. “I’m glad that the world is opening up to more dogs and accepting of what they can do for us.”

A six-year-old mini Aussie named Jack has been roaming the halls of Amarillo Children's Clinic for about three weeks. (Source: KFDA)
A six-year-old mini Aussie named Jack has been roaming the halls of Amarillo Children's Clinic for about three weeks. (Source: KFDA) (Source: KFDA)

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