Therapy dogs earn diplomas at graduation - WLOX.com - The News for South Mississippi

Therapy dogs earn diplomas at graduation

One of the therapy dogs to earn a diploma on Saturday at Memorial Hospital (Photo Source: WLOX) One of the therapy dogs to earn a diploma on Saturday at Memorial Hospital (Photo Source: WLOX)
GULFPORT, MS (WLOX) -

It was all pomp and circumstance for at Gulfport Memorial Hospital. A dozen therapy dogs and their handlers donned caps and gowns for the 11th annual Pet Partners graduation ceremony on Saturday.

The dogs were all sizes from tiny dachshunds to giant a Newfoundland, but, it's not the breed that makes the dog special.

"People love the dogs," said Carla Anderson, who has handled therapy dogs for more than 20 years.

The 12 dogs spend weeks being trained and certified to enter nursing homes, libraries and hospitals; learning how to offer people comfort and enjoyment. 

"Basically it's in the dog. It's the dog's nature," said Mary Pecoul. Pecoul and her two shih-tzus have logged more than 5000 volunteer hours, earning them the Presidential Service Medal.

But even with hard working volunteers, Anderson says they could still use more help.

"We need more. we could visit everyday at every facility and that probably still wouldn't be enough,"

For more information on how to become a certified therapy dog handler, click here. 

Copyright 2017 WLOX.  All rights reserved.

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