Thursday, March 4, 2010
Medical Reports: Dr. Dog
Man's best friend can do a lot more than play catch and fetch your slippers. At one South Florida hospital, a specially-trained dog is helping severely injured people make it through rehab. 7's Richard Lemus shows us this Dr. Dog on call.
WSVN -- Bryce Gomez: "It was just a regular day. A car comes across the intersection. I don't have time to react, just crazy thoughts go through your head and we just started flipping and flipping."
Eight-teen-year-old Bryce Gomez almost died in that car accident. His right arm was nearly destroyed and he couldn't walk.
Bryce Gomez: "Both my knee bones were showing, my shin was showing, like my ankle was completely dislocated."
He spent three weeks in the hospital, and once he got out he didn't want to get out of bed much less start grueling physical therapy.
Bryce Gomez: "I'm just like every step hurts like, I don't even want to move just let me stay right here."
That was until he met his new therapist Liz from Memorial Regional Hospital South.
Denise Maillet: "Liz is a fully-trained service dog, she's 2 years old."
Liz is the newest addition to the rehab center. Her role: To motivate therapy patients. If someone refuses to try to walk Liz knows just what to do.
Denise Maillet: "She'll actually calmly go to the side of the patient and walk with them and before you know it the patient has walked a hundred feet."
Bryce brushed Liz on a daily basis and the two played tug of war to help strengthen his arm.
Bryce Gomez: "I was actually playing with her but I was really like in rehab.")
But it's not all fun and games, Liz is specially-trained to know 80 different commands.
Bryce Gomez: "She can take off someone's socks, open a refrigerator door, retrieve something they've dropped from the floor."
She also makes visits to patients rooms.
Bryce Gomez: "When Liz walks into the room you can see a difference in the patient's faces immediately."
Bryce's progress has shocked. His doctors he's walking now with a cane and getting stronger every day, but he says he never would have gotten this far without Liz by his side.
Bryce Gomez: "Even if you don't really like dogs, I think you're guaranteed to like this one. She's just, I don't know, she's Liz."
Richard Lemus: "Liz works full-time Monday through Friday, but we're told as soon as the work vest comes off she runs around and plays ball just like any two year old Golden Retriever."