A Local Hospital Celebrates A 'Paw'-pular Employee's Birthday

Dawn Ebesu and Simba
Dawn Ebesu and Simba
Maile Au
Maile Au

NUUANU (KHNL) - A banquet for Simba, arguably the most loved therapy dog on Oahu.

"It's something different from a nurse or a therapist coming down to get you," said Dawn Ebesu, Simba's handler and an occupational therapist at the Rehabilitation Hospital of the Pacific. "It's a happy face, a happy dog coming to see you."

Ebesu said he's made a world of a difference with patients.

"I've seen him make patients cry," said Ebescu. "I've seen them laugh. I've seen patients that would never participate, participate just because he's there."

Besides helping the patients here, Simba's brightened the lives of the people who work here.

"I think he's been really good for employee morale," said Maile Au, a fundraising manager for the hospital. "People see Simba and it's like, 'Oh, Simba.' It brightens everyone's day."

So on his second birthday, the hospital throws him a party. Two- and four-legged friends shower him with presents.

Is he the most popular employee?

"Definitely, definitely the most popular employee," chuckled Au.

Simba also gets a promotion. He is now the director of PAWS; PAWS being an acronym for perseverance, attitude, willpower and spirit.

Dawn said her world changed since Simba entered her life.

"I don't think I'm an occupational therapist anymore," said Ebesu. "I'm Simba's mom. When I walk down the halls, people go, 'Simba! Simba! Hi, Simba!'"

The most loved employee at this hospital by patients and staff.