East Tennessee Children’s Hospital has hired its first four-legged employee.
Farley, a golden retriever puppy, is the hospital’s first-ever full-time
facility support dog. Her job will be to brighten the days of folks around
The idea for the hospital to have its own facility dog came from 16-year-old
oncology patient, Kristyn Farley, explains Sue Wilburn, V.P. of Human
Resources. Kristyn passed away in 2016, but her passion for dogs and greater
access to them during her care inspired Wilburn to take on this new employee.
A grant from PetSmart Charities helped the hospital get the facility dog
and hospital volunteers set up a fund to cover daily expenses.
Farley has a lot of growing, training and socializing to do before she
starts her full-time position. Once she has completed her training, she
will provide comfort and support to staff as well as patients throughout
In the meantime, she is already making a big impact on the hospital. From
local news coverage to appearances at community events and fundraisers,
Farley is ready to lend a helping paw - or four - to her hospital family.