I had almost forgotten about the reporters while we were at the NIH then one of Will's customers called today to tell him he saw him and Haley in the USA Today. Here is an excerpt of the article. Click here for the full story.
|Will Buchanan watches as his daughter Haley, 21 months, pets Viola, a therapy dog, at Children's Inn at the National Institutes of Health. Haley is being treated at NIH for Joubert Syndrome.|
A golden Labrador is a treasure for this child and her family
BETHESDA, Md. — Will Buchanan walks several steps behind his toddler at the Children's Inn at the National Institutes of Health.
Getting around is challenging for 22-month-old Haley. She has Joubert syndrome, a disease that affects balance and muscle coordination. She uses a tiny walker and wears a harness, which her dad is holding to keep her upright.
Suddenly they both smile. A big yellow dog lying in the hallway is wagging its tail at Haley. Ever so gently, her dad guides Haley to the floor to sit beside the dog. And ever so gently, Haley reaches out for the dog's muzzle. "Dog," she says. The dog stretches out a paw and touches Haley's leg.
"We have two German shepherds at home (in Dallas, N.C.), so she's really happy to see this dog," says Haley's mother, Laura Buchanan. "This makes it easier for us."
Viola, a golden Labrador, belongs to the Children's Inn, a private, non-profit residence on the NIH campus where families whose chronically ill children are being treated at NIH can stay. Mars Inc. donated Vi to the inn in 2008 after she was retired as a Seeing Eye dog. The kids can spend time alone with Vi and attend special activities with her.
"Having a dog here helps the children relax, feel more at home, and makes their treatments more bearable," says Meredith Carlson Daly, media relations coordinator at the inn. "There have been many studies done showing how beneficial animal therapy can be. We see those benefits here every day."