Penn State Children’s Hospital hires full-time facility dog

HERSHEY — Penn State Children’s Hospital in Hershey has hired what officials say is the first full-time facility dog at a children’s hospital in the state.

The Lebanon Daily News reports just 30 children’s hospitals across the nation utilize facility dogs, which are different than therapy dogs in that they demonstrate various procedures for kids such as how to lay on x-ray tables and sit still during tests.

The hospital’s Child Life Program will be using Kaia, a golden retriever, to help calm patients and create a more positive environment.

Kaia was born and raised at Canine Assistance, a Georgia-based organization that trains service and facility dogs.

Ashley Kane, Child Life Program manager and Kaia’s handler, said she hopes the hospital will expand its use of facility dogs in the future.