Winnie, Kapiolani Medical Center’s chief canine officer, wraps busy first month on the job

She has some big “shoes” to fill, but we have a feeling she’s going to do just fine.

Friday morning on Wake Up 2day, Kapiolani Medical Center for Women and Children’s new chief canine, Winnie, joined us in studio along with her handler, Dr. Wendi Hirsch.

Hirsch says Winnie is a 1-year-old Labrador. She’s been on the job for about a month now and she’s already made a difference in many keiki’s lives.

“She’s just a natural,” said Hirsch. “She was really the right girl for the job. … She gets in bed and snuggles with them while they have treatment or chemotherapy, or whatever treatment they’re going through, and waits with them while they’re waiting for their appointments, goes with them down to surgery. She’s just a dream.”

Tucker, passed away in August 2016 having served as Kapiolani’s Chief Canine Officer for nine years. Tucker was the hospital’s first facility dog and he certainly left a legacy.

The hospital actually tried out several dogs for the position. “It was really waiting for the right dog for the job,” Hirsch said, “because it really is about their intelligence and temperament and their love for kids, and she had what he had too.”

Kapiolani’s facility dog program provides comfort to pediatric patients, many times at the bedside, through the use of a dog that is specially trained for full-time work in a hospital setting.

Funding for this program, which is supported through donations, also allows for training and activities within the medical center and outside in the community.

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