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Furry Friends bring smiles to people at TMC

Shadow and Ken at TMC
Posted at 9:37 AM, Oct 02, 2019
and last updated 2019-10-02 12:37:49-04

TUCSON, Ariz. — Walking throughout the Tucson Medical Center at 9 a.m., Shadow makes her way on all fours to find the next person she can make smile.

Shadow is a 3-year-old, 135-pound Bull Mastiff and one of the 47 dogs that is part of TMC's Dog Therapy Program. Shadow and her owner Ken Johnson have been coming to TMC everyday for the past year and half.

"She enjoys the visits. I enjoy the visits. she has lots of friends," Johnson said. "I tell her we're going to go see her friends and she's all ready to go."

Johnson said he was inspired to get Shadow certified to be a therapy dog after meeting another therapy dog at the dog park. It took him a year to get her all the certifications, but now she has no problems.

"She can be a little intimidating when you see her, but then towards the end of the visit it's almost like they don't want her to go," Community Support Specialist at TMC Kimberly Nunez said. "She's just a gentle giant."

The Dog Therapy Program has been at TMC for the past 24 years. There's no set schedule as to when they're there, but they all have badges and are completely certified.

The Humane Society Pet VIP or Pet Partners of Southern Arizona both due certifications. It's normally a 6-week course, 21 step test. After that, you can register with Tucson Medical Community Services.