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The newest faculty member at the Uniformed Services University of the Health Sciences has a great smile — and a wagging tail.
Shetland, not quite 2 years old, is half golden retriever, half Labrador retriever. As of this fall, he is also a lieutenant commander in the Navy and a clinical instructor in the Department of Medical and Clinical Psychology at USUHS.
Shetland - Skills - Command - Object - Cellphone
Among Shetland’s skills are “hugging” on command, picking up a fallen object as small as a cellphone and carrying around a small basket filled with candy for harried medical and graduate students who study at the military’s medical school campus in Bethesda, Md.
But Shetland’s job is to provide much more than smiles and a head to pat.
People - Spirits - Stress - Relief - Exams
“He is here to teach, not just to lift people’s spirits and provide a little stress relief after exams,” said USUHS Dean Arthur Kellermann. He said students interacting with Shetland are learning “the value of animal-assisted therapy.”
The use of dogs trained to help their human partners has ballooned since studies in the 1980s and 1990s started to show how animals can benefit human health.
Dogs - Varieties - Service - Dogs - Dogs
But helper dogs come in many varieties. Service dogs, like guide dogs for the blind, help people with disabilities live more independently. Therapy dogs can be household pets who visit people in hospitals, schools and nursing homes. And then there are highly trained working dogs, like the Belgian Malinois that recently helped run down Islamic State leader Abu Bakr al-Baghdadi.
Shetland is technically a “military facility dog,” trained to provide physical and mental assistance to patients as well as interact with a wide variety of people. His military commission does not entitle him to salutes from his human counterparts.
Service - Dogs - Uniformed - Services - University
Although service dogs are commonly seen at the Uniformed Services University of the Health Sciences, Shetland, a retriever mix, is a clinical instructor in...
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