She was a miracle worker, a sweetheart, a healer, a friend.

She coaxed small, seriously ill patients out of their beds. She eased their anxieties before surgery. She let them dress her in a tutu or spray her with blue paint, just to put smiles on sad faces. 

She was Nilani, or Lani, the beloved service dog at UCSF Benioff Children’s Hospital San Francisco; Lani died this summer after five years of bringing love, laughs, cuddles, and comfort to young patients and their families. 

The instant she walked into a patient’s room, Lani knew precisely what was needed – whether it was playing a game of fetch, climbing right up into the bed, or consoling a parent with a gentle nuzzle. As news of Lani’s passing spread, condolences and social media posts poured in, many from parents whose children had befriended Lani in their final days.

Cover of UCSF Magazine: left corner reads “UCSF Magazine, Fall 2015”. Illustration of the silhouette of a man; behind him is a beautiful blue sky with fluffy clouds; inside his head is a stormy scene where the brain would be with a tree branching out from the brain area; white birds fly in to the storm. Text next to photo reads: “A New Way Out of Depression”. Text below photo reads: “Poverty’s Vexing Cycle; Kid-Size Dosing; When Disaster Strikes”

UCSF Magazine

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