We revisited a special therapy dog that we first met last winter, Lily. She's an extra special friend to the patients at the National Health Care Corporation in Bristol.
She's a special friend because of her loving nature, and also because she, like some of them, has a physical problem to overcome.
We first met Lily working along side her physical therapist mom at HCC in Bristol. All puppies full of energy and love, but she had lost a paw during birth. She was fitted with a special prosthetic paw by a local prosthetic firm.
Lily is still helping her owner as a therapy dog these many months later but without her prosthetic paw. She's simply outgrown it. "It's been advised that she get a prosthesis through a K-9 prosthetics firm. So we're working on doing that right now but more pricey than we were working on before," owner Heather Mullin said.
They're planning some fund raising to help lilly with the cost and yes her own physical therapy at UT-Knoxville. It's that connection as both a therapist herself and a patient that helps her with her human patients. "We have a patient that we have who actually had a stroke and has a splint on her arm that helps move her hand and she like to play. She loves Lilly and she likes to play with Lilly and throw the ball with her splint," Mullin says.
"It helps psychologically and physically I think for the patients to be able to be around her and pet her," patient Janic Rash says.
Janice Rash has a broken ankle and is undergoing therapy. She considers Lily as a big part of her recovery, along with all the other patients. "She is the most loving dog and all the patients love her. She wants to be petted and loved, just like all of us do," she said.
There's something special about Lily, and she has a lesson for us all. "She gives the love that she receives, too," Janic said.
We'll continue to follow Lily's progress and efforts to get her that new paw.