Read the original article by Danielle Barker at ux.freep.com here.
Every dog has its day, and for Izzy, that day was filled with massages and delicious treats.
She and a few furry coworkers were treated to a day at the spa, celebrating their five years (35 dog years) of service.
“They’re special. They deserve it,” says Izzy’s handler Vandie Enloe.
Izzy has been a facility dog at Children’s Healthcare of Atlanta since February of 2013. She works in the library and brings comfort to young patients. One of her first patients still sees her when he comes in for routine visits.
“I’ll never forget the day, he was 11 years old, he went down to one of the volunteer services-sponsored events and made Izzy a tie-dyed t-shirt, and it had, ‘To Izzy, From Michael on it,'” recalls Enloe.
Michael Rhone has cystic fibrosis and has been hospitalized at Children’s Healthcare of Atlanta more than 50 times. When he gets bored or stressed during treatment, he heads to the library, where Izzy’s cheerful face and wagging tail are waiting for him.
“He doesn’t even have to call her. She usually stands over by him while he’s on the computer,” says Enloe.
On one visit, Izzy started acting strange. She began pawing and pushing at Rhone’s stomach, which wasn’t normal behavior. This continued for a couple of days. Rhone’s mom felt that Izzy was trying to tell them something.
“When the doctors did the tests, they determined that he was having problems with his gallbladder. We really believe that Izzy knew something wasn’t quite right. And the doctors found out exactly what it was and took care of him, so we’re very thankful for the whole team!” exclaims Enloe.
Rhone and Izzy are still close. When he visits, she stays right by his side.
Izzy and the 16 other facility dogs are a part of the Canine For Kids program. They bring joy to hundreds of kids every day.
Children’s Healthcare of Atlanta recognizes and honors employees every year who have a milestone Service Anniversary – anywhere from five to 45 years. This year, they pulled out all the stops for their four-legged team members reaching this special anniversary.
“Our dogs have the same dedication as the rest of us, just with four paws,” says Bella’s handler Kara Klein.
Izzy and five of her coworkers were given a red carpet send-off to the spa, where they enjoyed everything from massages to “paw-dicures.”