MOBILE, Ala. (WKRG) — In tonight’s What’s Working, four-legged visitors are now being allowed back in at University Hospital. A therapy dog, named Millie, is once again visiting patients and the staff. Millie, a yellow lab, has made frequent visits to University Hospital for the past three years along with her handler, Morris King.
King says Millie was originally trained as a hunting dog, but he knew that she had a special quality that made her great with people. He got her certified as a therapy dog, and she loves to go to “work.”
“Therapy dogs are born, not trained,” King said.
King calls her a “people dog,” because she has an uncanny ability to connect with people. She likes to lie in the hospital bed with the patient, or just sit in a chair next to the bed and let them pet her. Patient William Mose loves having Millie lie in the bed with him.
“I am glad she’s laying on me. I can feel her. I can feel her love,” Mose said.
Millie returned to University Hospital once the visitor policy was relaxed a few months ago. She started with just visiting the staff at first. They call her a celebrity! With all of the stress of Covid, they were overjoyed to see her.
“It brings them joy, gives them something humans can’t give them. Even if it’s for two minutes, she is a way to step away from reality, to remember what life is about, and let go of their stress,” Nurse Educator Kayla Hall said.
Millie wears many hats in the therapy world. She not only visits patients and staff at USA’s Surgical Trauma Intensive Care Unit, but she also works with the staff at SAAD Hospice, and assists first responders and victims of natural disasters in coping with stress.
King says Millie has been a gift, and he is honored to share her personality with others.
“There is truly a higher power at work in these rooms with these dogs. There is no doubt about it,” King said.
King has written a book about Millie, that is available for sale on Amazon. It’s called “Millie and Mo Dream Big.” You can learn more about it here. It encourages kids to chase their dreams.
If you are interested in your dog becoming a therapy dog, click here for a link to Pet Partners. You can also contact Ashley Peyer, the Volunteer Coordinator at University Hospital at (251)471-7265.