— -- A 6-year-old Portuguese water dog named Moxie has shed light on the furrier side of medicine - providing a dog's-eye view of her job as a therapy dog as she cuddled with patients and staff.
On a recent visit, Moxie's owner set her up with a GoPro as she took her weekly Thursday tour at the Hospital for Sick Children in Toronto.
Owner Carolyn Robinson said Moxie always knows who needs the most help when she enters the hospital room going from patient to caretaker to medical staff.
"[She is] touching the lives of so many patients and children, "said Robinson. "Being able to alleviate [stress]…animal therapy is all the benefits of chocolate minus the calories."
Moxie may not technically be part of the medical treatment, but Robinson said the dog can help increase endorphin levels and even help children on the road to recovery after surgery. In certain cases, Robinson and staff can get children on their feet to go for a "walk" with Moxie.
"I’ve had nurses say to me, 'We tried absolutely everything to get this child out of bed and then Moxie came along and the child got out of bed and walked [the dog],'" Robinson said.
Moxie had to go through extensive training so that she remains calm in all situations and is groomed before every visit to the hospital. Robinson said Moxie seems to take her duties as a therapy dog very seriously.
"When that uniform is on her, she is right by my side," Robinson said. "She is on duty. She knows she is there to give her love."
After a long day's work, Robinson said she can tell Moxie is tired out.
"After her day is done, she’s quiet," said Robinson. "She’s content…she loves what she does."
Moxie was able to start visiting the hospital thanks to the PetSmart Paws for Hope Program at the Hospital for Sick Children.