LYNCHBURG, Va. (WSET) - The dog days of summer are here -- but a favorite furry friend is helping out in the Autism and Developmental Pediatrics Center.
His name is Baxter Black and he's Dr. Teresa Brennan's labrador retriever.
He carries a Centra ID as a certified therapy dog and helps in a lot of ways every day in her office.
Therapy dogs use their social instincts and learned social skills to bring Dr. Brennan's young patients emotional benefits and sensory interventions.
ABC 13 got to see him at work -- even children who aren't fond of dogs take to him.
"He's mostly just a calming and happily distracting presence. A lot of children are just afraid to come in for an appointment. They are worried they will have a shot or a painful, scary experience," Brennan said. "It's a way to encourage the children to do the things we need them to do to evaluate them, to help them cooperate."
Brennan said many times the parents end up on the floor for Baxter time.... even the therapists and psychologists on staff who need a stress reliever.
Baxter has been helping Brennan as her right hand dog for the last 7 years every day at her practice at the Autism and Developmental Pediatrics Center and at Lynchburg General Hospital.