A year ago, if you had told me a dog’s presence could make a father cry because it brought a smile to his child’s face for the first time in two weeks, I would have thought you were exaggerating.
A year ago, if you would have told me a dog could motivate a child in the pediatric intensive care (PICU) unit to stand up for the first time after surgery when nothing else worked, I would have been skeptical.
A year ago, if you would have told me a mother would say she truly believed her child made it out of the PICU because each day they looked forward to a daily dose of unconditional love from a dog, I wouldn’t have been so sure.
If you told me a year ago a patient who did not have the physical strength or motivation to smile, let alone sit up, would do both of those things for the very last time because a dog she had grown to love came to snuggle in the hospital bed, I would absolutely not have believed you.
But then I met Elsa.
Over the past year, Elsa has been a welcome distraction from pokes and procedures, a shoulder to cry on, a paw to hold and the best cuddle buddy anyone could ask for. She has shown unconditional love to our patients, families and staff and has truly become a part of the Texas Children’s family.
Since joining Texas Children’s one year ago, Elsa, has provided targeted therapeutic interventions to patients and their families in numerous patient care settings at Texas Children’s medical center campus.