A weary look crosses the face of a teenage girl; her jaw tightens, and her body tenses. Another day, another needle stick — a typical appointment for a pediatric cancer patient. But then, the tapping of nails on a shiny floor brings a different expression — a smile — for SCHALL, the rehabilitative facility dog at the N.C. Cancer Hospital’s pediatric hematology oncology clinic.
Lifting spirits and helping ease tension are SCHALL’s calling cards, as she strolls through the unit with primary handler “MT” Fore, MSW, LCSW, and checks in on patients with UNC Lineberger’s Stuart Gold, MD, chief of pediatric hematology-oncology. SCHALL spends her days performing interventions that help reduce patient anxiety, depression and stress.