HONOLULU (KHON2) — Samson is a 3-year-old Golden Retriever on loan to The Queen’s Medical Center from Assistance Dogs of Hawaii — but he is not for the patients.
Samson is part of ADH’s Crisis Response Program and helps provide emotional support to Hawaii’s healthcare workers.
“What’s different about Samson is he’s there to provide support to the medical staff,” said ADH executive director Maureen Maurer. “So he makes rounds just like other employees and visits the different units and helps just bring smiles to the faces to the doctors and the nurses that are working so hard.”
Samson has been with ADH since he was an 8-week-old puppy, but his career was not always set in stone — he was one of four dogs in Queen’s research to detect COVID in sweat samples. The project did not go as planned, at least for Samson.
“He was fired from the COVID research project because he was too interested in people. All of the dogs were so focused and would run and sniff all the boxes and sit down, and Samson would start out towards the boxes, so then he’d see someone and run over to say hello.”Maureen Maurer, Assistance Dogs of Hawaii executive director
But when one doggy-door closes, another opens.
“So that’s what he gets to do all day now, is visit with people, so he’s in heaven,” Maurer said.
Samson has been helping Queen’s workers since September 2021, when COVID cases hit their peak in the Islands. Kristen Collat, his handler, said Samson is an awesome addition to their team.
Samson will spend the rest of 2021 at Queen’s before going back to Maui, where ADH is based. They will then send a puppy over just before Christmas to be raised at Queen’s for the workers.
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ADH is a free-of-charge non-profit organization that relies on donations to stay afloat. They need community support after almost two years of no benefit events, so click here if you want to help them continue providing dogs like Samson to Hawaii’s healthcare heroes and hospital patients.