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Therapy dog makes pediatric office fun for kids | Pets

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Therapy dog makes pediatric office fun for kids
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Therapy dog makes pediatric office fun for kids

 

He looks like a miniature version of Lassie, and in Spokane, he's a star in his own right.

His name is Tanner and he is the therapy dog that has been roaming the halls of Northwest Spokane Pediatrics for all seven years of his life.

“This is all he's ever known,” said Lorraine Hix.

Tanner was adopted by Hix when he was just a few weeks old, and when he was 8-weeks-old he got sick and Hix didn't want to leave him at home, so she brought him with her to work at the doctor's office. But even after Tanner recovered, Dr. Joseph McManus decided that the Shetland Sheepdog should continue coming to work.

“It wasn't intentional, but the kids want him here,” Hix said. “When we leave him at home, kids pitch a fit.”

Tanner weighs 26 pounds and has 15 trading cards for patients to collect.

“People transfer to our office because of Tanner,” Jacki McManus said.

But there are days when Tanner just isn't up to a full-day's work.

“Sometimes he just decides it's his day off,” Hix, who cares for Tanner fulltime, said. “He closes himself in his kennel at home, and pretend like he can't see me trying to get him to come to work.”

But when he is at work, Tanner is a real asset to the practice, especially with special needs children, who Tanner “just has a knack with.” McManus said that Tanner helps special needs children relax in the examination room.

On their way out of the office, kids get a Tanner trading card, a dog stamp and a piece of candy from a bowl that sings “Who Let the Dogs Out” when you open it.

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