Social worker Laura Ingram and Gigi meet with a patient at McLane Children's.

Welcome to the team, Gigi!

McLane Children's is thrilled to welcome a new facility dog to the Pawsitive Pals program.

You already know Child Life facility dog Lorenzo—but get ready to meet his new friend and co-worker, Gigi. Like Lorenzo, Gigi is a certified facility dog from Canine Companions for Independence® whose job is to offer comfort and snuggles to young patients in the hospital and clinic.

Gigi matched with social workers Laura Ingram and Rebecca Holmstrom in November 2020, and began her career at McLane Children’s in late January 2021. As part of the social work team, Gigi sees children in the emergency department and clinic who have experienced some of life’s scariest moments: abuse or mental health issues. She offers therapeutic support and a sense of safety, helping patients open up to the staff caring for them.

Gigi in the snow

Gigi takes a break from her work at McLane Children's to enjoy the rare Texas snow earlier this year.

“These children have been through one of the most difficult things they’ll ever experience,” says Ms. Holmstrom. “We’re asking difficult questions and wanting them to tell the honest truth so we can help them. Gigi makes them feel safe, which is our job as social workers. Having her there makes them more willing to speak with me, a nurse, or a doctor.”

"A lot of patients aren’t willing to talk; but as soon as I walk in with Gigi, their whole demeanor changes,” says Ms. Ingram.

Like Lorenzo, Gigi can serve as a distraction to help children and families cope with what is happening around them, allowing them to pet her or simply snuggle. “She’s so calming and just wants to love the kids,” says Ms. Ingram. “She wants to get up on the bed and relax. I’ve seen her snuggle on their chest, which helps reduce anxiety, and I think she knows when a patient is crying and puts in extra effort to cuddle them a bit closer.”

Both Gigi and Lorenzo also offer comfort to staff throughout the hospital as they experience the joyful and sorrowful moments that come with working at a children’s hospital. “In addition to being an excellent tool for compassionate patient care, Gigi has already been a refreshing source of therapy for our trauma and emergency staff,” says Ms. Ingram.

Gigi and Lorenzo are already great friends and teammates. On their off time, they enjoy playing together, cuddling, and taking naps.

Learn More
To learn more about how you can support Gigi's and Lorenzo's work through the Pawsitive Pals program at McLane Children's, please contact Lori Luppino at 254-899-3771 or

Gigi and Lorenzo playing

Gigi and Lorenzo play in the garden at McLane Children's.

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