New job title: Patient relations pup

By Claudia Shea email
Posted by Rachel Leigh email

(WFLX) - More local nursing homes, hospice centers and hospitals are all using pet therapy.

The names of the pets vary, but their mission is the same - lifting the spirits of people who could use unconditional love.

Meet Sofi. She's recognized by her great outfits, sweet disposition and official name tag. Her official title at Columbia Hospital is patient relations pup. She's a shih tzu poodle mix with loads of love for patients.

Kisses and kindness: Tasks she and her master have mastered over five years now, and patients eat it up. "I think it's that unconditional love. They just love you or whatever. And she kind of has a sixth sense about when people need a little extra kiss or hug."

Gene is the marketing director in Columbia Hospital, and bringing Sophie to work with her is a no-brainer. "It all started with a few patients who embraced this concept. Everyone just related to her. They just said it lowered their blood pressure, and it was fun, and she was always sweet. So I decided to bring her on a regular basis."

And patients couldn't be more delighted. They can't wait to see what she'll be wearing next.

Well dressed and well behaved - all helping patients get well. "She loves meeting people. She loves it."

If laughter really is the best medicine, surely this puppy love stands a close second!