Covenant Healthcare announces new canine therapy dog team

Covenant Healthcare announces new Canine Therapy Dog Team.(Photo: Courtney Wheaton)

SAGINAW, Mich-- Samson, the six year old Burmese mountain dog has no problem getting up close and personal.

A skill his owner, Janet Nash says he needed to master in order to be a therapy dog.

He’s certified through Therapy Dogs International.

“He had to be temperament tested when he was two years old and we been doing therapy work since," said Nash.

Their journey now brings the dynamic duo to Covenant Healthcare for the brand new canine therapy program, where so far three dogs serve as stress relievers for patients in need.

While we were there Samson was all business.

Starting first with comforting Michelle Dukas. She’s staying at Covenant right now for a heart issue. This is the first time they met.

“It’s great. I was in here 13 weeks at one point and I was depressed because I missed my animals at home, “ said Dukas.

But nurses say the patients aren’t the only people being positively affected by these new four legged staff members.

“When I see him it makes my day so much better. If you’re having a bad day, it makes the day better. They bring so much happiness," said Covenant Nurse, Alisha Neimiec.

Nurses say dogs are proven to relieve stress and even lower blood pressure, but right now these dogs and their handlers are most concerned about bringing smiles.

“It was a fella here the other day who just made me laugh so hard he was on the phone with his mother and said mama you gotta see this dog. We came in the room big smile on his face.He just made my day let along us making his," said Nash.

The hospital is looking for more certified dogs and volunteers for the program. You can click here for more information.

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