OKLAHOMA CITY (KFOR) – The Oklahoma City VA Health Care Systems is welcoming a new four-legged team member.

Val, a two-year-old Labrador Retriever from Canine Companions, has joined the Recreational Therapy Team.

“Val is our new facility dog who comes to work with me every day,” Kacie Ingram, Recreation Therapist said. “She helps veterans meet their rehabilitation goals.”

Val Credit: Oklahoma City VA Medical Center

Val works in Acute Care Rehabilitation as well as Outpatient Recreation Therapy.

“Val starts her day at the Outpatient Recreation Therapy Clinic at the 14th Street Clinic where she brightens the day of many veterans,” Ingram said. “And then onto the Main Medical center to work in Acute Care Rehabilitation.”

Val joined Raisin, an 8-year-old Labrador Retriever who has been at the OKC VA Medical Center for over six years.

Val and Raisin. Credit: Oklahoma City VA Medical Center

“Val works individually with our rehabilitation patients,” Ingram said. “Depending on which veteran she is working her assistance is different. Rehabilitating stroke patients, we practice fine motor skills by having the veterans practice brushing her. Also, veterans work on memory and pronunciation by memorizing commands and then giving those commands to Val for her to follow.” 

Organizers say facility dogs differ from service dogs because they are not assigned to one person.

“Val has been here for a month and seen close to a hundred veterans,” Ingram said.