BISMARCK, N.D. (KXNET) — Meet Beau and Jemma, two therapy dogs with the national organization Love on a Leash.
Both dogs drop by the Sanford Hospital Wednesday.
“We’re trying to provide some puppy loving, just to help give the nurses and patients a mental break,” said Lynn Kurtz, co-leader for Love on a Leash.
According to Love on a Leash, training begins at a young age. Beau is just five years old and has been a therapy dog for four years.
“We go through a lot of training to get to this point,” said Kurtz. “They have to earn their canine good citizen and be evaluated for potential therapy dog work and then do 10 supervised visits. And if they pass they become a team with Love on a Leash.”
And once they pass their training courses the dogs are put to work. Kurtz says there is a range of different breeds that can be trained to become therapy dogs. She says it really depends on the dog’s personality.
Kurtz even questions if Beau would be a good therapy dog because of his breed.
“I questioned an Australian shepherd as a therapy dog because of their high energy,” said Kurtz. “But as you can see he does learn that he is working and what is expected.”
Sydney Retterath, a nurse at Sanford Hospital says she loves when the dogs drop by and is happy with the partnership the hospital has with the organization.
“Once a week we have one, two, or three therapy dogs come by,” said Retterath. “They have the option of going into people’s rooms if they meet the criteria. Just to relieve stress. Some kids like to pet the dogs, some just like to look at them. Just to brighten up their day a little bit and of course, they stop by the nurses’ station.”
And of course, the nurses got their time with the dogs as well.
“In general, the dogs help not distract us but give us a tiny little mental break,” said Retterath. “Whether it’s for the patients or for the nurses. It just makes us take a second and stop and forget about everything else that is going on. And then we feel refreshed when we get back into everything.”
It’s clear that the two dogs take their job very seriously. Beau just came out of a patient’s room and is so proud to have put a smile on their face.