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Carolina Has Heart: Therapy dog helps kids recover at Levine Children's Hospital

Maggie, a therapy dog at Levine Children's Hospital, brings joy to what would otherwise be a scary situation for many children. Her owner also works at the hospital, and calls Maggie her "better half."

CHARLOTTE, N.C. — The Carolina Has Heart series seeks to recognize those that are inspiring to others in the community. 

This nominee works at Levine Children's Hospital, and she continues to inspire those around her. She's not like past nominees in one major way, though -- Maggie is a dog. 

Specifically, Maggie is a therapy dog at the hospital. 

"She encourages me," said DJ, a fifth grader from Raleigh receiving treatment at Levine Children's Hospital. He's been working with Maggie for a few months.

He gets a huge smile when asked about her. 

"I don't know, she's just really fun," DJ said. 

He loves playing fetch with his new friend.

"It reminds me of playing with my old dog," DJ said. 

DJ says he misses his dog back home, but doing therapy with Maggie kind of fills in the gap. 

Christina Hall works at Levine Children's Hospital, and is Maggie's owner. 

"She is truly like my better half," Hall said. "I utilize her in my therapy sessions. She's a very unique aspect to our team."

Hall said she worked on training Maggie to be a part of the therapy sessions in the hopes that it would help kids work a little harder. 

"Maybe it will be a little less painful, a little less scary too," Hall said. "Having this big, fluffy, furry friend at their side during their therapy session."

It's definitely helped DJ. 

"I think she helps me get better mentally because sometimes when you're in the hospital for a really long time you start to get really upset and bored," DJ said.

Maggie brings joy to an otherwise scary situation for many. 

"I'll see Maggie she'll just put her head on my knee and it kind of makes me smile," DJ said. "I've really never seen a dog do that before."

If you have someone you want to nominate for Carolina Has Heart, click here or email Sarah French at sarah@wcnc.com.

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