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Inspiration Report

Wikimedia Commons

Wikimedia Commons

Everyone has heard the stories of big dogs that think they are lap dogs. Kernel the Great Dane, however, takes that to a whole new level. The massive pooch loves to sit in the lap of his owner, Alyssa, and snuggle up with other family members. One of his favorite ways to interact with his humans, though, is through hugs. Alyssa has Kernel give her a hug every morning and lets him jump up on his back paws so she does not have to bend down to reach him. Alyssa’s hugs are one of Kernel’s favorite parts of the day, and he pouts when he does not get them.

“[One] morning,” Alyssa said, “I did not give him his morning hug because we were rushing out. And when we got home from our hike, he was sitting on the couch whining at me. Whining, whining [and] waiting for his hug because I did not give him his cuddle yet.”

The lovable pooch is known for making friends easily and has a talent for brightening up people’s days. As such, Alyssa wondered if people outside her friends and family would appreciate Kernel’s good cheer as well. With that in mind, Alyssa reached out to the Boston Children’s Hospital.

“I used to work at Boston Children’s Hospital,” Alyssa said, “and [I told them I] would love to befriend a patient that Kernel and I could go see. Someone wrote to me and said, ‘One of my patients is in Boston right now. Feel free to reach out if you want to go meet her.’”

Alyssa did. The little girl whom Alyssa and Kernel met formed a fast friendship with Kernel, and she always looks forward to Kernels visits. “We go visit her when she’s in-patient,” Alyssa said. “She comes up every six weeks for treatment. They’re such a good match together. She walks him around the hospital. We went into the elevator, and she announced to everyone ‘THIS IS KERNEL.’”

Given the success Kernel has had with his favorite patient, Alyssa has started training Kernel to be a service dog. “I’ve started teaching him some tasks,” Alyssa said, but his training is far from over. Still, there is no doubt this gentle giant would love an excuse to make more friends. More human friends means more hugs for Kernel, and to Kernel, there can never be enough hugs.

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