We’d like to introduce you to Idina, our newest Facility Dog! Idina joined the Animal Assisted Therapy Program a couple of months ago joining Chevy and Leica and bringing our family of furry employees to three!
Idina is a pure-bred golden retriever who is officially a member of the Child Life team. But, unlike Chevy and Leica whose primary handlers are Child Life Specialists, Idina’s primary handlers are doctors!
Dr. Mary Greiner and Dr. Hans Greiner are Idina’s handlers and they and their three boys are her family.
Idina was part of a litter of puppies from Canine Assistants that were all named after characters from the Disney film “Frozen.” Idina’s brothers and sisters include Elsa, Anna, Sven, and Olaf. Idina was named after Idina Menzel, the actress who voiced the role of Elsa.
IDINA’S ROLE AS A FACILITY DOG
When she’s working, Idina has a very specific and specialized job to do. She splits her time between the Neurology and General & Community Pediatrics care teams, seeing patients with each of her two doctor handlers.
With Dr. Hans Greiner, she attends neurology clinic on Tuesdays and Fridays and occasionally also visits inpatients in the neuroscience unit. Dr. Hans Greiner understands his patients are sometimes uneasy during their clinic appointments, but feels Idina brings a sense of calmness with her.
“I think it becomes a positive touchstone for them. Normally whenever you go to the doctor, the thing you take away is often negative. But now when the kids come to the doctor and see the dog, that’s what they remember about it.”
There is time built into Idina’s schedule each day for both lunch and recess. She often spends time in the middle of the day on the playground outside the E building with Chevy and Leica. It is important that they all three have time to relax and simply be dogs for a little bit each day.
When Idina is not in clinic with Dr. Hans Greiner, she spends the rest of her work week with Dr. Mary Greiner at the Primary Care Clinic. There, Idina meets Dr. Greiner’s patients, many of whom are part of the foster care program. Idina’s relationship with her patients took a little bit of time to blossom, but Dr. Mary Greiner says the dog’s presence has now become the highlight of the visit for many of her patients.
“From the moment we go into the room, instead of the doctors going into the room and the first question being what shot am I getting, is this going to hurt, is it going to be scary? Now it’s oh you have a dog, can I pet her? Their nervous energy is instead focused on petting her and being around her.”
Idina has been a wonderful addition for both of the Greiners and to our Animal Assisted Therapy Program overall. She has fit in great with Chevy and Leica and most importantly, the patients she meets just simply adore her.
So, as you are making your way around the medical center, be on the lookout for our THREE facility dogs. They all wear green vests and blue employee badges. They love to greet visitors so don’t be afraid to say hello, but please ask their handlers first if it is ok to approach the dog. If the handler says yes, then you’ll need to use hand sanitizer wipes both before and after petting the dogs. This is the rule for everyone who pets the dogs and the handlers always have plenty of wipes available.