Cincinnati Children's Blog

Welcome Chevy, our Newest Facility Dog!

Welcome Chevy, our Newest Facility Dog!

He has only been an employee for a few months, but he has quickly become one of the most popular with patients. Chevy is a 2 year-old Golden Retriever and Black Lab mix who is a new facility dog on our Child Life and Integrative Care team. He and his primary handler, Katie Sullivan, started in October.

Katie and Chevy have been an inseparable team since July 2016 when they were matched through Canine Assistants, the non-profit organization that has trained all of our facility dogs. Katie and Chevy were a part of the facility dog pilot program at Children’s Hospital of Greenville Health System in Greenville, SC before transitioning to Ohio.

Facility dog Chevy lies in bed with a patient.

Chevy lives with Katie and her family and does typical dog things when he’s off-duty at home. But when he puts on his working vest and heads for the
car, he knows it’s time for work.

Before he sees patients for the day, he greets everyone in the Child Life and Integrative Care office with a big smile and a wagging tail. He also takes his lunch break each day on the playground at Burnet Campus where he and fellow facility dog Leica love to fetch tennis balls and romp with each other.

Life as a facility dog

Chevy works primarily with inpatients, but he also regularly visits with patients throughout the medical center. As he and Katie make their way through the hospital each day, Chevy gets lots of adoring looks and excited whispers. Chevy is known for his signature move of stopping, picking an individual and dropping to the floor to roll on his back for a quick belly rub. And anyone who has experienced it knows that he’s not shy about asking for that attention.

Facility dog Chevy with a patient.

But when Chevy is with a patient, it’s no longer about attention for him, his job is to be a calming presence for that child. He is also a great physical therapy tool because taking him for a walk is often just the motivation a patient needs to get out of bed for therapy.

Katie and Chevy join another dog handler pairing of Kerri Birkett and Leica (pronounced “Like-Ah”) in our Animal Assisted Therapy Program. Leica joined the Cincinnati Children’s Child Life staff in February 2016, along with Drummer – both Golden Retrievers, like Chevy. Drummer and handler Ashley Rivet have since moved, and now call Columbus their new home.

Keep an eye out for Chevy and Leica in their green vests as they walk around the hospital, and don’t be afraid to ask their handlers to say hi! But please be courteous of their time and be sure to use hand sanitizer both before and after petting the dogs in an attempt to prevent the spread of germs around the medical center.

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