“PAWS assistance dogs are trained primarily for placement with children and adolescents who have developmental disabilities. Jazzy hopefully will be placed with a child within the next four months, but in the meantime she's participating in program outreach, such as the trips to NCH Downtown Naples Hospital.
For Jazzy, the trips provide a valuable opportunity for socialization. For NCH’s patients, it’s a bright spot in their treatment and a chance to use their healing bodies and voices to interact with a happy, fluffy puppy. Jazzy’s silky fur and winning personality make her a powerful rehab tool, says Rebekah DiMaria, a recreational therapist for NCH.
“They have to speak to the dog, reach out to the dog,” she says. “Sometimes people who can’t relate to human beings too well, they can to animals.”