CABARRUS COUNTY, N.C. - Patients at a dental clinic in North Carolina are getting a little support from a four-legged friend.
Atkins is a 2 and a half-year-old yellow Labrador retriever. Her specific job is to calm the nerves of anxious dental patients.
Dental hygienist Barb Kucera takes Atkins home, trains with her and cares for her at home and in the office. It's all part of the much larger "Paws for People" program that places service dogs all across the country.
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"She and I trained about 50 hours before she was placed here and she was trained specifically for her dog here at Smile Cabarrus with me," Kucera told WCNC.
Atkins knows over a hundred commands and doesn't bark unless told to. Mostly, she simply relaxes with patients as they get dental work done.
The company chooses Labs and golden retrievers for their personality and behavioral traits.