Physical Therapy Dog

By: Jessica Aspiras
By: Jessica Aspiras

Once a week, six-year-old Sophie, a basset-beagle mix, visits the Pediatric Physical Therapy gym at Sparrow Hospital. And she knows a thing or two about rehabilitation, because she's gone through it herself. She ruptured a disk and is now partially paralyzed, relying on a rolling cart to help her get around.

According to her handler, Phyllis Shance, "She doesn't let anything stop her. She doesn't care at all that she's in the cart. And she tools around and she's happy all the time, something the kids need to see."

The kids Sophie works with have physical disabilities too. And Sparrow occupational therapist Molly Gomoll says, "There are things that sometimes it's difficult for us to have the kids work on, like a certain position or doing a certain movement. But they're motivated to do it for Sophie when they might not do it for us or their parents."

Sophie also volunteers at the Hope Network and a senior adult day care.


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