Nemo — Therapy

Location: Johnston, Rhode Island

“Finding” Nemo changed Tara’s life in ways she can’t begin to describe. Tara is a nurse practitioner in pediatric palliative care at Hasbro Children’s Hospital & Nemo is her certified therapy dog. Both Tara & Nemo are team members on the Children’s Integrative Therapy Pain Management & Supportive Care (CHIPS) Program at Hasbro.

The search for a therapy dog began when a patient asked Tara one day after a particularly difficult conversation & the volunteer therapy dog team had to leave the room, why the CHIPS team didn’t have their own dog to offer comfort.

Moved by this idea, Tara spent months researching resident dog programs, put in applications at various animal shelters and then the Potter League called her. She was introduced to Nemo and after looking into his gentle brown eyes, her heart told her he was the one. Soon after bringing him home, Tara heartbroken, after the loss of a patient, Nemo very gently put his paw on her shoulder & gave her a kiss. He just knew what to do. They soon became a certified therapy dog team after months of training.

Nemo fills each room he enters with happiness, wagging his tail at the doorway to greet his little patients. Some days when his patients are sleepy, Nemo will just lay in bed with them & they sleep together. He makes groups of surgeons stop in the hall to say hi, licks dry the tears of grieving families, and brings peace & joy to the hearts of those around him just by being present.

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