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Ascension associates help patient find new service dog

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STEVENS POINT — It’s fair to say that in nearly 40 years of combined experience at Ascension offices in Stevens Point, Kayla Arendt, Mary Spielman and Tina Chevalier-Laube aren’t afraid to go the extra mile for their patients.

A few months ago, the trio learned that an Ascension patient, Nicole “Nika” Hill, would need to retire her service animal. Hill, who is blind, and her faithful companion Rocky were well known to the staff at the Stevens Point clinic. And as one could imagine, Hill was devastated about losing her faithful companion.

“We knew we had to do something,” to help Hill, said Arendt, a patient service representative, in an Ascension news release. “We began to research options for other animals for her, but cost and availability were an issue.”

Once Arendt got a line on an organization, Leader Dogs, that provides dogs for the blind, Arendt, along with Spielman an occupational therapist, and Chevalier-Laube, a patient service representative, helped Hill with the application work and creating a home video tour, requirements for obtaining the service dog.

Eventually, Hill was accepted into the program and was matched with a black Labrador. After participating in an extensive month-long training program that began in November in Michigan, Hill returned home with her ready-for-duty, 18-month-old Glory.

Arendt, Spielman and Chevalier-Laube were giddy when they welcomed Hill and Glory back home on Dec. 19.

“I am so grateful to my friends at Ascension who helped me when I needed it the most and the Lions Club for providing the opportunity with Leader Dogs,” Hill said in the news release. “I learned that the transition from your first service animal to your second is one of the most difficult things to deal with, but I’m excited to bring Glory home and can’t wait to bring her to the Hoover Clinic.”

While the trio was happy to have helped Hill find a new service dog, Ascension says it is just one more example of Arendt, Spielman and Chevalier-Laube making a difference for their patients.

“This definitely is a happy holiday story to tell,” Arendt said in the release.

Pictured are Glory, front; Tina Chevalier-Laube, patient service representative, Ascension Medical Group at Hoover, middle row from left, Nicole “Nica” Hill and Mary Spielman, occupational therapist, Ascension Medical Group at Hoover; Kayla Arendt, patient service representative, Ascension Medical Group at Hoover, back. Photo courtesy Ascension.

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