New Children’s Inn therapy dog Zilly makes friends with (from l) Zevaeh Daugherty and siblings Sydney Coore and Ethan Coore.
Photos: Christine Berzak
Studies show that having a furry companion can lead to several positive emotional
and physical benefits. After the Children’s Inn at NIH’s previous therapy
dog retired, the inn formed a “BARK committee” to consider a replacement.
Recently, a 1-year-old pup arrived at the inn and, after a trial period, was pronounced
a perfect fit.
Zilly is a multi-generational Australian Labradoodle, a breed known to be
hypoallergenic, friendly, energetic and good with families and children. Her
breeder had noticed her gentle and calm temperament from a young age.
Because of these characteristics, the breeder wanted to place her as an aid/therapy
Zilly’s duties at the inn include playing games of fetch, performing tricks, enjoying
petting and belly rubs and hanging out with children in the playroom, learning
center and at bingo and other activities.
“Zilly brings so much comfort, security and just plain fun to our special families,”
says Jennie Lucca, inn CEO. “She is definitely an extrovert and gets her
energy from being around the kids. She has a lovable personality and it’s great to
watch children playing fetch with her or getting down on all fours and cuddling