Hospice Gets New Therapy Dog

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Fi and Nina

The Hefner VA Medical Center, in Salisbury, has now got a new therapy dog to work with residents. Her name is Semper Fi, but she is generally known as “Fi.” She is a rescue, estimated to be around a year old, and is only called by her full name very occasionally, when she forgets herself and needs correcting. She is a lab cross, and is settling in well in her new role.

“To say she is popular is an understatement,” said Nina Dix, her owner and trainer. She currently goes home with Nina, at the end of the day, but shortly she will become a permanent resident in the hospice wing. “The challenge is to get Fi to a point where she can essentially make all her own decisions,” says Dix, because Fi will be living in the wing, without Fi with her every second.

There is an extensive support team helping to look after Fi once she makes her transition to permanent resident.

Fi is very loving and friendly, and, despite coming from a shelter, is outgoing, and not at all nervous. As a therapy dog, her role is just to provide comfort and distraction from the frightening troubles and prospects faced by patients. According to staff, she is the patient’s favorite member of staff.

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Fi, Nina and one of the patients at the Hefner VA Medical Center