Meet the newest employee of Penn State Hershey Medical Center


Penn State Hershey Medical Center has a new way of comforting children at the hospital and a new tool to show them there's nothing to be afraid of.

Penn State Hershey has a new employee: a furry, four-legged employee.

It's only her sixth day on the job but her boss says she's already making a difference.

When Kaia, the one year old golden retriever, walks through the doors she knows it's time for work.

Kaia is a service dog trained to help patients mostly in the pediatric radiology and radiation oncology departments.

"To learn how to be still during their tests and procedures so that they're not as afraid and may require less sedation for those procedures," explains Ashley Kane, manager of the Child Life Program.

Right now Kaia is doing a lot of patient interaction, has mastered opening doors and it training to get up on a table and show a patient how to lay down and be still.

"Hopefully the child would feel more comfortable being under that big camera or less anxious that something will hurt them when Kaia shows them that it's really not too scary," Kane said.

The dog's primary handler says Kaia is already great with the kids she's been interacting with.

"One of our first patients we interacted with was a preteen boy who typically might not be into a dog but when he saw Kaia he actually gave us a smile and thats not typical for him so it was really nice to see his face light up a little bit."

And she says Kaia has helped more than just patients, she's helped the staff too.

"They might be stressed or have had a really difficult patient interaction maybe recieved some sad news with a family and they get that little bit of TLC from Kaia that makes it so wonderful."

Kaia's handler says the dog works four days a week, eight hours a day just like any other full time employee.

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