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TODAY news for Thursday, January 28, 2008

Loma Linda University Medical Center East Campus news

Today interviews Ghillie, a Great Pyrenes, about pet therapy

East Campus representative Jillian Aalborg Payne interviews Ghillie, a pet therapy dog. Ghillie is accompanied by her owner, Kathie Park, who rescued Ghillie from an animal shelter in Pahrump, Nevada.
East Campus representative Jillian Aalborg Payne interviews Ghillie, a pet therapy dog. Ghillie is accompanied by her owner, Kathie Park, who rescued Ghillie from an animal shelter in Pahrump, Nevada.
Editor’s note: Kathie Park rescued Ghillie, a Great Pyrenese dog, from an animal shelter in Pahrump, Nevada. Today, thanks to hard work by both Kathie and Ghillie, they are a regular part of pet therapy in Loma Linda. Recently, Ghillie granted an exclusive interview to Loma Linda Today about his work.

Today: Ghillie, how long have you been giving back to the community through pet therapy?
Ghillie: I have been doing pet therapy for eight months, and I’ve loved every minute!

Today: Is the East Campus the only place you volunteer?
Ghillie: Actually, I do pet therapy four days a week. I love coming to East Campus, but I do share my time other places as well. I visit kids at Loma Linda University Children’s Hospital. Another favorite place of mine is Harvest Christian School. Some kids have a hard time reading out loud, so I help them by letting them practice on me. For some reason, the kids start to feel comfortable once we’ve worked together a few times. After we’re done reading, I give each child a bookmark with my picture on it. I love my job!

Today: What did you have to do to become a therapy dog?
Ghillie: Training, training, and more training—and baths. Every time I visit, I must have a bath, get groomed, and even have my nails trimmed! I went through basic training at Therapy Dog International in Santa Fe Springs, California. My human and I had to go train every Wednesday night for three months.

For the rest of my life, I’ll be going back periodically for additional training. My human had to go through training, too. I was worried about her, but it turned out that she’s pretty trainable after all.

Today: What’s the best part of being a therapy dog?
Ghillie: I love meeting all the people. The patients, the families, and the staff make my day so bright. I am one lucky dog!

TODAY news for Thursday, January 28, 2008