Therapy dogs make Valentine's Day sweeter at two local hospitals

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STATELINE, Ill. (WIFR) - Therapy dogs with the Caring Canine Program at Swedish American Hospital paid a special visit to staff and patients.

Patients at two local hospitals received a surprise visit from some furry friends.

The dogs sat in the lobby and as patients or staff walked by they could pet them as a way to break up their day and distress. Caring Canine's Coordinator Claudia Aschbrenner said the dogs truly help bring some calmness to the staff.

"You'll see their whole demeanor just relax when they see that dog walking down the hallway and they get to pet them," Aschbrenner said.

Therapy dogs with the Pet Therapy Program at MercyHealth Hospital also made a special visit to kids in the hospital brining cards, gifts and cuddles.

One Pet Therapy Program volunteer said this is a great way to give the kids a break from their normal hospital routine.

"It gets them excited and gives them something to look forward to," Tara McClenthen said. "I know they feel the love and when you have conversations with the different children about their dogs and it just takes them out of this element and helps them to think of something at a better time and place especially on a holiday."