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What's up, Zadoc!

Shriners Hospitals for Children — Honolulu Welcomes First Full-Time Facility Dog to the Hospital ‘Ohana

Shriners Hospitals for Children — Honolulu celebrated National Dog Day on Aug. 26 with a piece of “paw”-some news – Zadoc, a 1 1/2-year-old Labrador retriever, has accepted the position as the hospital's first full-time hospital facility dog.

Zadoc joins the pediatric specialty hospital as Chief of Snuggles (CoS). Highly trained in obedience and specialty skills, Zadoc assists handlers Michele Chee, PT, D.P.T., director of rehabilitation, and Helene Freni-Rogers, CTRS, manager of recreation therapy. Zadoc assists in both the inpatient and outpatient settings with therapeutic interventions that require promoting range of motion, strength, balance, coordination, and visual and cognitive skills.

His biggest role, however, is providing an extra layer of love and companionship for keiki and families at the Honolulu Shriners Hospital.

“When children come into the hospital for surgery, a procedure or even just a doctor’s visit, it can be unfamiliar or sometimes scary to some of them. Now that Zadoc is here, they walk in the door and they see him, and it just puts a smile on their faces and helps put them at ease,” Freni-Rogers said.

“He is so intuitive and knows exactly how to make each child’s visit a little more special,” Chee said. “He’s excellent at knowing if a child needs his calm presence because they’re anxious about a procedure, or if he needs to be silly or motivating if he thinks that’s what that child needs.”

Shriners Hospitals for Children — Honolulu received Zadoc from Assistance Dogs of Hawai‘i, a nonprofit organization based on Maui that trains service dogs to support people with disabilities and full-time facility dogs to provide comfort and courage to children in hospitals and courthouses.

“Zadoc was selected for the placement at Shriners Hospitals for Children — Honolulu because of his extremely gentle and compassionate nature. He loves everyone he meets, but has a special affinity for children,” said Mo Maurer, founder and director of Assistance Dogs of Hawai‘i.

So far, the reaction to Zadoc has been nothing but “paw”-sitive.

“Having Zadoc here full-time is really nice because the children can look forward to seeing him. They know he’s going to be here every day,” Freni-Rogers said. “Children can relate to a dog because they know they’re getting all that unconditional love from him.”

Here are a few fun facts about Zadoc:

  • Date of birth – Feb. 9, 2019.
  • Breed – Labrador retriever.
  • Birthplace – Brisbane, Australia.
  • Favorite color – Blue.
  • Favorite beach – Because he was raised in Maui, Zadoc loves Baldwin Beach. He can’t wait to explore the many “paw”-some beaches on O‘ahu!
  • Favorite place to be pet – He loves pets! He enjoys a good back scratch and belly rub.
  • Special talent – He is happiest making others happy.
  • Fun facts – Zadoc’s unique name comes from a long-time Assistance Dogs of Hawai‘i sponsor and means “just” or “righteous.” Zadoc also loves to travel! Some places this globetrotting pooch has visited so far include Australia, Seattle, North Carolina and, of course, Hawai‘i!

The animal-assisted therapy program at the Honolulu Shriners Hospital provides comfort to pediatric patients, many times at the bedside, through the use of a dog that is specially trained for full-time work in a hospital setting. Animals can lower stress, distract a child from pain, ease a child’s fear of medical procedures, leave a child happier and more relaxed, and even help improve communication within patients’ families and between parents and care providers.

As CoS, Zadoc completes a well-trained team that includes several therapy dogs who regularly visit children at the Honolulu Shriners Hospital.

“A full-time hospital facility dog provides unconditional love at a time when people need it the most,” Maurer said. “We hope that Zadoc will bring comfort and joy to the patients and families at Shriners Hospitals for Children, and give them something to look forward to each time they visit. We are so thrilled to support the important work being done at Shriners Hospitals for Children.”

Zadoc with patientZadoc with patient


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