A Massachusetts ambulance provider has hired a new helper to assist with patients: a therapy dog.
Willie Blue Armstrong, a 12-week-old chocolate lab, is currently completing his training before he heads to the headquarters of Armstrong Ambulance Service.
Willie was named for company founder Bill Armstrong. His middle name is for the company's favorite color and for Armstrong's blue blankets that are used to keep patients comfortable.
Willie has already completed two weeks of behavioral training at Fox Hill Farm and K9. Once he is done with training, Willie will work to cheer up sick or injured patients and also make visits to area nursing homes and assisted living facilities.
For his first assignment, Willie "sent" a letter of encouragement to a Wisconsin girl who suffers from an inoperable brain tumor. Seven-year-old Emma Mertens has requested and received letters from more than 50,000 dogs nationwide.
"We’re so excited to have Willie here on our team and watching him spread cheer and smiles to everyone he encounters is pretty amazing," said Armstrong CEO Rich Raymond.