Sign In

Therapy Dogs Anxious To Get Back To Volunteering

May 5, 2020

They bring joy to patients and staff but, like all visitors, the coronavirus pandemic has locked therapy dogs out of many hospitals.

The pack that volunteers at UCHealth University of Colorado Hospital is anxious to be back. They said so in a special video message to the doctors, nurses and staff.

Opal and her person, Elaine, said they definitely miss everybody.

Chevy’s handler, Maddie, said, “Every time we walk past the hospital, she gets super excited then super sad because she can’t come to see you guys.”

It’s been about 6 weeks since the coronavirus cut off the volunteer canine therapy squad from their weekly visits to UCHealth.

One dog expressed his dismay at being furloughed, “Hi, it’s me Julep. I miss seeing all of you and the delicious treats you give me.”

For Jenny Ricklefs, Manager of Volunteer Services and Shadowing, the feeling is mutual.

“The dogs bring love,” she said.

She calls the friendly canines stress relievers for both patients and staff.

“Nothing is quite as wonderful as just a few moments of snuggle with a great dog,” Jenny told CBS4 Health Specialist Kathy Walsh.

The pups are prepared to get back to work.

Five-year-old Lucy looks quite fetching in a gown, gloves and mask.

“We are anxiously awaiting the go-ahead to come back to the hospital,” said her handler, Dr. Rich O’Day.

In the meantime, he put together the video ‘Thank You’.

On it, volunteers told the staff, “You are awesome and amazing.” “You guys be safe.”

“Thank you for being the heroes you are every day, especially now.”

Being back on the job for the dogs will be the “ulti-mutt.”

Until then, Julep told the staff, “I love you guys.”

No bones about it.

Register Your Dog

  • Most Recent News

    Students Get Therapy Dog

    When middle school students return to class on Jan. 11, they’ll find a new face at the door: Daisy. Daisy is a therapy dog and the personal pet of Rob Kreger, principal of the Rock L. Butler Middle School. The five-year-old golden retriever is not a school pet or mascot, but rather a working dog […]

    Read more

    Therapy Dogtor

    Last March, Caroline Benzel, a third-year medical student, began to notice the stress and discomfort her nurse friends were feeling from the pressures of the ongoing Covid-19 pandemic. “[Personal protective equipment] can be really rough on the skin,” Benzel, 31, tells PEOPLE. Benzel and her 3-year-old Rottweiler, Loki (who’s also a therapy dog) hatched a […]

    Read more

    Therapy Dog Pups

    When Stanley the miniature fox terrier’s owner passed away, the little dog started a ‘paw-some’ new role – bringing puppy love to some of the Gold Coast’s oldest residents. After Carinity Cedarbrook Diversional Therapist Julianne Staff adopted Stanley, he began visiting the aged care community at Mudgeeraba as a therapy dog. Therapy dogs help to […]

    Read more

    Puppy Cams

    A nonprofit is providing an unusual form of therapy for those on the front lines of the coronavirus pandemic – puppy cams! “You spend five minutes with a puppy and try not to smile,” said registered nurse Robin Lingg Lagrone. Lingg Lagrone says watching little furballs wag their tails and prance on their paws helps […]

    Read more

    Pet Committee

    When Moore County’s school doors were abruptly closed earlier in 2020, two- and four-legged volunteers from the Moore County Citizens’ Pet Responsibility Committee (PRC) were in their 12th year of presenting a six-session Pet Responsibility Education Program for fourth-graders. The PRC quickly shifted gears and placed its program materials online as part of a home […]

    Read more

    The Right Rescue Dog

    If your New Year’s resolution is to add a canine family member, good for you. Somewhere out there is the perfect puppy or adult dog for your family. You have a lot of things to think about when you begin to look for that new family member, puppy or dog? Large or small? Purebred or […]

    Read more