Essentia restarts dog therapy program for patients

Published: Jul. 20, 2023 at 12:31 PM CDT
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DULUTH, MN. (Northern News Now) - A fluffy face has returned to the halls of Essentia Health buildings, hoping to ease stress and melt worries away.

Gunner, a therapy dog, is ready to love anyone who might need it.

Theresa Pearson and Gunner are a dog therapy team that volunteers their time visiting patients and hospital staff.

Sometimes those visits are quick passes down the hall.

Other times they’ll get to one with the patients and their families or specific staff departments.

Essentia Health therapy dog Gunner
Essentia Health therapy dog Gunner(Northern News Now)

Pearson says her four-legged companion is heavy on joy and just pulls on the heartstrings of everyone he meets.

“It’s just good for everybody,” says Pearson. “It’s good for the patients, their families, the employees, the dog and it’s good for me.”

Gunner was the first dog to return after the pandemic but they are always looking for more teams to visit.

You can apply to be a volunteer here.

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