June 18, 2003
Golden retriever, hospital employee celebrates sixth birthday at Methodist Rehabilitation Center
By Jim Albritton
Health and Research News Service
JACKSON—Methodist Rehabilitation Center honored one of its most loved and valued staff members with a birthday and anniversary party.
Fair, a golden retriever who is turning six, is celebrating four years of working with spinal cord and brain-injured patients at the Jackson hospital. He is a canine companion and was trained in Santa Rosa, Calif., to work with patients who have disabilities or limitations.
“Fair went through months of basic training and then had six months of advanced training,” said Susan Williams, Fair’s handler and a occupational therapist in the hospital’s spinal cord injury program.
Fair works with patients on balance and control and helps some patients feel more comfortable after sustaining a serious injury. He can pull a patient’s socks off or retrieve a thrown tennis ball helping a patient’s arm strength and range of motion.
Fair is also a valued member of the Think First team, Methodist Rehab’s statewide safety and injury prevention program. He participates in Think First safety programs at Mississippi schools with Williams who explains to students how a canine works with patients to recover and regain strength.
Patients and fellow employees attended the party and gave Fair gifts from his wish list: milk bones, tennis balls and a dog bed.
Susan Williams, an occupational therapist at Methodist Rehabilitation Center, helps Fair, a canine companion who works with patients at the Jackson hospital, blow out candles on his birthday cake.
Occupational therapist Susan Williams gives Fair, a six-year-old golden retriever who works with patients, a birthday present.