Sign In

Hospital adds new staff support dog for stressed-out employees

April 9, 2020

Folks across the country are feeling a lot of stress caused by COVID-19. Imagine the stress for nurses and doctors on the front lines in hospitals.

SSM SLU Hospital has added a new staff member to help erase some of the tension among workers.

His name is Bennett; that’s it, just Bennett.

The English Cream Golden Retriever’s smile and wagging tail are like magic for SSM SLU Hospital workers.

Bennett really knows how to lay on the loving.

“It’s wonderful. It is an immediate stress relief,” said one worker.

The dog even gets to wear a hospital badge. His title? Chief Snuggle Officer.

Mary Catherine Moran, Bennett’s human, also works in hospital administration. Moran said Bennett lights up a room.

“The entire room just starts smiling,” she said.

Bennett began visiting SLU Hospital when he was only 8-weeks-old and since then he’s bonded with lots of people. Dogs are like a special medicine.

“They just love you unconditionally,” said ICU nurse Samantha Bush. “They’re always happy to see you.”

Right now, Bennett is only certified to offer comfort to hospital employees. When he turns a year old in June, he’ll begin training to be a therapy dog for patients.

“There’s been a lot of studies over the years that have shown animals really do help people decrease blood pressure and have a calming presence,” said Kelly Baumer, vice-president of specialty service at SSM SLU Hospital.

There’s no better time for Bennett to relieve tension among hospital personnel. They worry about the virus at work and home.

“He’s always around with a smile on his face and a wagging tail and how do you not match that energy?” Moran said.

Hospital folks talked to their infectious disease specialists. They make sure people wash their hands before and after touching Bennett. Plus, he gets a bath when he gets home after he’s made rounds at the hospital.

“It’s pretty stressful. There’s always the concern you’re going to take this home to your family and they could be sick,” Bush said.

Register your Dog Schedule a Visit

  • 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

    Therapy Dogs At School

    Those who own a dog can attest to their ability to lift mood, improve stress and bring joy by simply being there, unanswering, seemingly all-knowing and always delighted to see you.  Therapy animals are known for their calm and comforting nature, giving people a way to relax, de-stress and interact with a loving pet.  They […]

    Read more

    Wonder Dog

    For those of us with dogs, we know they quickly become major parts of the family. You live for and care for just like one of your own children, and one dog right here in Oklahoma City is beating the odds, and helping others recover as a therapy dog, despite all of the issues he’s […]

    Read more

    Scott And Charlie

    Cherokee Middle School students may do a little more “doodling” second semester starting this month (January), but also will improve their attendance marks because of a special attraction at the school, courtesy of Principal Scott Aden. Aden, an effective, caring administrator, has acquired and will house and handle a young female Golden Doodle (Charlie) that […]

    Read more

    Hope For Veterans

    E5 Therapy opened in April with a different way to help veterans in therapy. They offer canine-assisted therapy along with talk therapy to veterans and veterans’ families in Solano County. Owner Matthew Decker is a licensed clinical social worker in Northern California, focused on helping veterans achieve their mental health goals. Along with his team, […]

    Read more