(Ginnie & Millie are graduates of ICAN's June 2017 Graduation Class)
Getting pulled around can be hard work, especially if you're ICAN service dog Millie! While it looks like she's enjoying a sweet ride, there's a reason she's taking it easy every once in a while. Any relationship is give and take, but that's literally what Millie's all about. Don't let this adorable Golden face fool you, she's going to make you work, and have fun while doing it!
Millie is serving as a facility assistance dog for the St. Vincent Pediatric Rehabilitation Center. She wil live and work with Ginnie, a speech therapist, along with Amber Hountz and Megan Painter who are two occupational therapists. "Millie is motivating and she will be helpful in many ways," Ginnie said.
Millie's skills will become part of daily therapy exercises for patients. This is where the give and take comes in. One therapy exercise is getting dressed. "Kids are more willing to put a jacket or socks on because Millie will take them off," Ginnie said.
Helping pull off socks or a clothing item will be another way Millie will help provide motivation to the children when they are doing their rehabilitation exercises.
And why is Millie being pulled? Because it will be a big motivation for a patient. "I can ask them to pull Millie on the cart, and when they do, they can switch places and Millie can pull them," Ginnie said. Millie's job is to make therapy that is hard, fun.
Millie will also provide motivation assistance by helping place one's foot back onto the chair's footbar.
Millie will assist the patients on the unit in so many ways. Her activities will include utilizing training equipment such as a balance vest, platform with wheels and a tug rope, and balls of various sizes (basketball, yoga ball, etc.). She will push many different items at different heights (example – cabinet doors on the play kitchen set); tug shoes, socks and doors, push (''score'') different size balls to the patients and encourage them to push back with their hands or feet; have the patients pull on Millie while she is in a sit position; and she will also visit with patients in other programs providing them encouragement and hugs. Millie is going to be one big bundle of love to so many kids!
(Left to right); Millies, handler, Alkeia, at the Indiana Women's Prison; Amber, Ginnie and Megan with a smile from Millie!