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Therapy dogs help heal kids at North Central Baptist Hospital

7 therapy dogs at hospital help bring smiles to younger patients

SAN ANTONIO - When 9-year-old Saul Falcon came to North Central Baptist Hospital two months ago for his back surgery, his mother said he was quiet and shy.

Now, this little boy is much happier thanks to visits from a four-legged pooch, named Finley, every week.

"He's fun and he's a good dog," said Falcon.

Finley is 3 years old, and one of seven therapy dogs at the hospital. His owner, Debbie Sinks, said Finley brings smiles to young patients like Saul all the time.

"Mostly it's the smiles, the first time a mom says that's the first time she's smiled since she's been in the hospital," said Sinks. "It made it all worth it at that point."

All therapy dogs are specially trained and certified before they're allowed to see patients. They must pass a test for basic obedience, and have the right temperament and whole lot of patience.

Carol Short, another therapy dog owner, described her dog and said, "She kind of looks like a stuffed animal 'cause a lot of times people take a double take, thinking I'm pushing a doll around. "

Short's therapy dog is Cassie, who has been visiting patients for the past 9 years. She's known as the dog who comes in the hospital in a pink stroller.

"I can see the smiles on their faces and the joy, and helping get through some of their procedures is wonderful," said Short.

If you're interested in having your dog be part of the therapy dog program at North Central Baptist Hospital, you may visit their website here.

For a list of recent stories Mariza Mendoza has done, click here.


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