ER Staff Saves The Day After Family Dog Mauls Girl’s Elf On The Shelf

When a Florida hospital manager’s dog mauled her young daughter’s Elf on the Shelf, she called on her colleagues to save the day.

Jenn Thelen’s co-workers at the Arnold Palmer Hospital for Children in Orlando sprung into action on Monday morning to help save 7-year-old Aubrie’s injured toy, which the family’s German shepherd, Zoey, had attacked overnight.

In an adorable video that’s going viral, the emergency room staff wheeled Kris Kringle’s tiny spy into the trauma bay on a gurney:

Magical elf on the Shelf Surgery

Jenn Thelen woke up to the sound of her 7-year-old daughter, Aubrie, screaming. Their German Shephard, Zoey, had attacked the family’s Elf on the Shelf, Sam. Jenn is the nurse manager for the emergency department at Arnold Palmer Hospital for Children. She told her daughter not to worry because we have the best medical team and they had “special doctors” that could fix her elf’s injuries.

Posted by Orlando Health Arnold Palmer Hospital for Children on Wednesday, December 6, 2017

“OK, let’s see what we can do,” said one of the team, dressed in full surgical gear. Another worker listed the injuries the elf named Sam had sustained.

They then painstakingly reattached its arm, before sprinkling glitter over his body in a bid to bring him back to full elf. Sam was discharged later that day.

Thelen, who is the hospital ER’s nurse manager, said Aubrie burst into tears after finding her beloved elf missing an arm on Monday.

But after seeing the videos and photographs of Sam’s surgery, the youngster was thrilled to welcome him home. “My kids know that our medical team does amazing things,” Thelen told Babble.

“We always talk about Christmas magic with our kids. Aubrie is a very analytical kid, so she wants to know details about everything,” she added. “So, we explained that Christmas magic is a way that Santa and the elves are able to do things that maybe normally wouldn’t make sense.”

According to the hospital, the team used “expired medical products” for the spoof surgery.

“Aubrie knew that the elf could not be touched but Jenn told her that the ‘magic gloves’ would allow the team to work on Sam,” it added, since legend says the Elf on the Shelf can lose his magic if touched by humans. “Sam is now back on his shelf and mom will definitely make sure that he is out of Zoey’s reach.”


  1. Bravo! Jen the RN, You are absolutely right. This was way more than use of time and expired supplies. It was empathy and love, which in my opinion should be the core of every nurse. Sadly, so many in the nursing field are in it for the wrong reason and patients can sense this on the faces and by the mannerisms of these irritable old sour pusses. Any nurse that says there is no down time, ever, is simply lying. The fake elf surgery was cute and I am sure delighted the child, and I agree, gave the child some insight on what mom does for a living. Also, nursing can be very stressful when it’s so busy, so these rare times when they can let their guard down, and colleagues help out to make a child happy, I say more power to them. As for the glove, I am sure if it were a real surgery, correct gloving would have been done. Let’s keep the Christ in Christmas shall we and quit knit picking everything to death.

  2. Dear Scrooges,

    Some things to consider.

    Children are often afraid of healthcare settings. I am happy to “waste” my time by making glove balloon animals, rattles made from urine cups, stickers, crafts, singing songs, or whatever it takes to make a connection with a child so that they associate our field with happiness. Little things like that show the parents how much we care about the psychological well being of their tiny humans. I work in an ER. You want to cause a lifelong fear of hospitals, doctors, nurses, xrays, shots, etc because of the extra time or money it takes? That’s your choice. I choose to be “that nurse” who loves on her patients, especially the little ones who need extra. This is something I would’ve done for a colleague because
    1) Christmas spirit
    2) Teaches kid in a non threatening way what mommy does for a living
    3) nursing is about touching people’s lives, not just giving meds and charting
    4) so what if it’s “a feel good story.” Nursing is the #1 most trusted field by the public and we have an obligation to protect that perception

    “Be the nurse you’d want taking care of your loved ones” is my motto.

  3. Love the story too. A little magic at Christmas and very little time made for one happy child. This hopefully was done during a brief break. We once treated a stray dog who hobbled in on a broken leg. A few blow backs but happy dog. Turned out dog belonged to a doc on rounds.

    • Cherry RN,
      I could not have said it better. Love Love Love this post!
      Love first responders. Love the ER. Appreciate all you do all day long!

  4. Sorry, it may be a feel good story, but that’s time that could have been used to save a person’s life. Will the insurance companies be billed? Will she? The medical team and staff need to get paid…while they may have used expired products, and not all, I’m sure. It’s a waste of time, resources and facility. Go ahead…tell me I’m a Scrooge and how I have no heart….yada yada yada…while my insurance rates soar and I pay ridiculous amounts on healthcare…but let’s use a hospital to see up a doll!

    • My thoughts exactly. Not to mention a little “over indulgence” on the part of the parents. My parents taught me that stuff happens, so put it in perspective and deal with it accordingly.

    • are you kidding me? Every job has a down time when things other than save lives is needed so grow up and have some empathy for all human kind. Hopefully this Christmas you are in better spirits.

  5. I realise this is a spoof, but the sterile glove were not put on sterile. The first glove was not supposed to
    be touched inside the cuff.


Please enter your comment!
Please enter your name here

Twitter Offers Valuable Insights Into the Experience of MRI Patients

MRI's can be a stressful experience for many people, but clinicians have few ways to track the thoughts and feelings of their patients regarding...

4 Myths About Emergency Preparedness

As many as 40 percent of American families do not have a family emergency plan in place, according to Save the Children, a non-profit...

Nurse Bling: Coffee ‘n’ Tea, Tea ‘n’ Coffee

. Fall is around the corner, and colder weather isn’t far behind. The good news? Coffee and tea (aka nurse fuel) are officially acceptable in doses...