(COLORADO SPRINGS) — There’s a new “MD” at Children’s Hospital Colorado in Colorado Springs, but probably not the kind you’re thinking of – meet Salida, the new “Medical Dog” on staff at the hospital!

Salida is a two and a half year old yellow Labrador Retriever from Canine Partners of the Rockies, a Colorado nonprofit.

Salida is the first full-time Medical Dog at the Children’s Hospital in Colorado Springs. She will work alongside her primary handler, Luzie, a child life specialist, providing support to the hospital’s pediatric units, including the Emergency Department, Pediatric Intensive Care Unit, Center for Cancer and Blood Disorders, Medical Surgery, and Radiology.

According to the Children’s Hospital, the Child Life team has expanded from five to 16 specialists (17 counting Salida) since opening in 2019. The specially trained team helps children and families deal with the stress and fear that may come along with a diagnosis or hospital visit.

  • Children's Hospital Colorado Medical Dog Salida
  • Children's Hospital Colorado Medical Dog Salida
  • Children's Hospital Colorado Medical Dog Salida
  • Children's Hospital Colorado Medical Dog Salida
  • Children's Hospital Colorado Medical Dog Salida

The hospital said Salida’s work will offer a range of health benefits for patients. Research shows that interacting with a gentle, friendly pet can result in benefits like stabilizing blood pressure, diminishing pain, reducing anxiety and even encouraging communication.

In Salida’s spare time, you can find her chasing down tennis balls and enjoying endless belly rubs. Her special talents include about 40 different cues, including answering yes-or-no questions with a “boop” of her nose and opening automatic doors with the push of a button.