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Children's Hospital at Dartmouth mascot is "as real a dinosaur as one will ever see"

By Laura Evancich

There have been recent reports of a big, blue, very friendly dinosaur wandering around the Children's Hospital at Dartmouth (CHaD). This six-foot-tall creature is named Chad A. Saurus—Chad for short.

According to local folklore, a CHaD-a-saurus egg—dating back to the Cretaceous period, roughly 100 million years ago—was found in a big block of ice near DHMC in the early 1990s. A CHaD staff member cared for the egg until it hatched and then raised the baby dinosaur in a secret location at the hospital. The dinosaur liked the place so much he decided to make it his permanent home. These days, he's often spotted socializing in and around CHaD.

The CHaD-a-saurus has a few wranglers who take him on walks and make sure he behaves so he doesn't accidentally frighten anyone. Among them are Jonathan Strutt, Kari Vandenburgh, and Sarah Farley—all second-year Dartmouth medical students. They accompany Chad when he visits hospitalized children or represents CHaD at special events, such as the Dartmouth business school's Tuck Run for the Kids; local March of Dimes fund-raisers; and CHaD family nights sponsored by the Fisher Cats, a minor league baseball team in Manchester, N.H.

"The kids are so excited when they see him," says Sharon Brown, CHaD's director of community relations. In fact, she adds, people of all ages "respond with such glee" when the dinosaur makes an appearance.

Chad's favorite activities include doing arts and crafts projects, dancing, visiting patients, and playing hide-and-seek with doctors and nurses. Chad's wranglers are sometimes asked who's inside the dinosaur suit, and they assure all questioners—even inquisitive reporters—that Chad is as real a dinosaur as one will ever see.

There is no reason to fear the CHaD-a-saurus, they emphasize. He's an herbivore, so he eats mostly grass and small plants—but that means he must be monitored around DHMC's flower beds and shrubbery.

And he loves ice cream, too. So kids had better watch their ice cream cones carefully when the friendly blue creature is around!

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