Our team at Texas Children’s Hospital West Campus has a new four-legged team member named Angus.
The two-year-old Labrador/Golden Retriever mix joins Facility Dogs Elsa, Bailey, Pinto, and Pluto who serve patients at Texas Children’s in the Texas Medical Center, and Golden doodle/Golden Retriever mix, Cohen, who serves patients at Texas Children’s Hospital The Woodlands.
All six dogs are part of the hospital’s Pawsitive Play Program, which is designed to enhance the emotional well-being of pediatric patients by reducing their anxiety, perception of pain and fear of hospitalization. These dogs are highly trained and assist patients with everything from emotional support through cuddling, “medical play” to ease patients’ fears of the hospital, balance assisted walking and much more.
“These dogs break down walls and barriers that a human can’t with our patients. Having the dogs around them gets them talking, helps them achieve their goals, gives us insight, and makes their time with us much more enjoyable,” said Child Life Specialist and Angus’ Handler, Meg Gustafson.
Angus is the first assigned facility dog to hit the halls of West Campus and also Texas Children’s first facility dog from Canine Companions®, a leader in the service dog industry providing service dogs to adults, children and veterans with disabilities and facility dogs to professionals working in healthcare, criminal justice and educational settings. He will begin his job full time in January of 2022, which will consist of performing specific tasks to assist with patients’ motivation and rehabilitation. Angus is more than just a comfort animal – he’s been training his whole life for this opportunity to use his task-based training!
We had the opportunity to interview Angus with the help of his human interpreter, Meg:
What do you do for fun?
I love taking long walks, playing fetch, and cuddling under warm fuzzy blankets.
What is your favorite thing about your new job so far?
I love that we (Meg and I) get to bring smiles to everyone we encounter at the hospital.
What are you looking forward to as you settle into your role?
I am looking forward to meeting all the children at the hospital and really becoming part of this One Amazing Team. Makes my tail wag just thinking about it!
Angus is currently still adapting to being in this new environment, but feel free to wave and say “Hello!” from a distance to show that Meg and Angus have love and support from their Texas Children’s family.