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From Tears to Giggles

Ellie sits quietly as she waits for another child to help.

Nena Moon and her Miniature Schnauzer Ellie have worked together for almost 7 years and have provided comfort and companionship to young patients who are undergoing radiation treatments. The two have been Delta Society registered Pet Partners for many years.

The team volunteers at the Comprehensive Cancer Center at the University of Alabama at Birmingham Hospital. When Ellie arrives at the facility, the mood of the room completely changes. Her joyful face greets the children when they arrive for their radiation treatments. Nena remembers one little girl who was having difficulty waking up after her treatment. "I put Ellie on the gurney with her and I told her that Ellie was waiting on her to wake up and without opening her eyes, her hand crept down until she felt Ellie, and as soon as she did, her eyes flew open and she was wanting to give her some treats."

Mary W. Phillips, the Director of Volunteers at Hand-In-Paw says that "over the past six years, Nena and Ellie have brought many children from fear and tears to trust and giggles." Because of their dedication to the children at the Comprehensive Cancer Center, the two were awarded the Beyond Limits Award given by the Delta Society. Ellie was also inducted into the Alabama Animal Hall of Fame.

Nena is a proud pet "Mom" and loves sharing her baby with others. "She's so smart and you'll find this with all the Hand and Paw dogs," Moon said. "When you put their collar and their scarf on them, they know they're going on a visit. She'll actually go to the door by the garage and wait for me. She knows it's time to go to work."