Goddess the “gentle giant” who makes the children at the hospital in Pisa smile again

In the pediatric department ofSanta Chiara Hospital in Pisafor some years a gorgeous female rottweiler has been running around the wards.

Called Goddess and with his mistress nurse Chiara Richichi participates in the project of pet therapy created by the structure together with the dog center DobreDog. national expertise that has been training operators and offering social services for years.

An experience that is only possible afterwards years of training and thanks teamwork that is created with the staff in the department.

In fact, in addition to the bureaucratic practice, it is usual to meet before the interventions begin a briefing with the medical and nursing staff to center the key points for each boy or girldepending on the age of the pathology.

The results were astonishing: autistic children who have opened a door to the world, anorexic girls who began to eat, at first only in the presence of their friend, and then they have resumed the old and good habit of enjoying food, children horrified in hospital wards so different from their room that they have bought back smile and calm just iron a big and black cannon.

Shortly said, an absolutely positive experiment which, however, had to be interrupted due to Covid.

Chiara Ricci in our interview he tells us his story with Goddess.

Hi Chiara, how did you start your experience with Dea at the hospital?

In high school as a volunteer and then at the University I did an internship in paediatrics in Pisa. Once I saw coming to the department Francesco Fabbri founder of DobreDog with his dog and asked for information. During that period, Dea arrived in the house and I was curious to try it with her. It is usually an experience that the instructors recommend doing with your dog, precisely because a unique affinity is created and before starting there is a study period that lasts two years. I also did the thesis on the bachelor’s program specifically regarding pet therapy.

What is the training you did with Dea?

We did a course together, which is divided into a theoretical part, which I obviously only did by myself, and a practical part, which I did with my dog. The practical part involves several hours of practice in structures such as retirement home, nursing home and then also the hospital. Dea is a very quiet and peaceful dog, he has done various tests with the instructors, who, based on the dog’s character, direct him to the area where he can operate. Since she was so quiet, and since I was already working at the hospital, we were referred to that sector. Hospital experience is strictly individual dog patient work, almost never in a group, so there is a lot of calm and for Dea it was the right environment.

What was the children’s reaction?

The kids had absolutely no problems, to them she was a “good giant”. For the parents and those who worked in the department, it was not easy, we did a few weeks of integration make “friends” with nurses, doctors and the head nurse. We then began working with patients individually.

For Dea, on the other hand, what was it like to face this new experience?

It is impressive to see how dogs realize that they are “going to work”. I always wore a uniform to enter the hospital e she tied the uniform at the beginning of work and made an incredible change, when he entered the department he looked like a different dog. No matter how happy she was, she felt at home. When he first came in he greeted the nurses, then we went to the doctors to find out who could hold the meeting and how to mark him as there is a specific job to do depending on the pathology. Then we started our room-by-room service.

The Rottweiler is mistakenly seen as a “dangerous” dog

It’s true, I was also once stopped by a policeman who told me I had to muzzle them because they are “bad” dogs. But in reality this is not the case. Moreover Dea is the first Rottweiler in Italy to perform the pet therapy. His way of placing himself in this environment is fascinating, you would never say that such a large dog poses himself in such a delicate and elegant way. She has never allowed herself to speak badly, she has always had the composure and composure to carry out the operation. Of course, there are signs that dogs emit from fatigue and stress that the owner must know how to recognize, such as yawning or looking towards the door, which is also why we operators take a course that lasts two years. With her, every intervention was beautiful.

Is the service still active today?

Unfortunately not. We started in 2017 and stopped in March 2020 because of covid and then because of the different waves it never started again. For now the department is closed, but we ask to be able to return, that would be nice.

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