KERRVILLE - A therapy dog focused on animal-assisted activities is helping patients at Peterson Regional Medical Center in Kerrville.
Twice a week, Graham Bishop and his sidekick Victoria, a Great Pyrenees, bring smiles to the patients and staff at the hospital.
"(Victoria) walked into my driveway one morning in a rainstorm and it was pouring down rain. She was only 85 pounds," Bishop said. "And, she had no chip. She had no collar. She had nothing and nobody wanted her."
Victoria ended up helping Graham out.
"My wife died and I got her shortly after (and she) lifted me out of a tremendous dump," Bishop said. "She’s my best friend."
Bishop and Victoria also visit VA hospitals and nursing homes.
"I babysat for the people across the road and they had a little 2-year-old girl. The little girl fell in love with her and I thought she'd make a great therapy dog," Bishop said.
Both Victoria and Graham had to get certified to do their jobs. They are registered through Pet Partners and members of Therapy Animals of San Antonio.
"Having Victoria and Graham come and visit (patients) relaxes them, makes them think about home, makes some think about their own animals at home and really helps them through the hospital stay," said Elizabeth Johnson, director of Rehab Services.
According to the president of Therapy Animals of San Antonio, there are around 90 San Antonio therapy teams.
Below is a list of criteria therapy animals must have according to Pet Partners.
To learn more about the different animal therapies click here.
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