The dog therapy program has been offered at Dignity Health Mercy and Memorial hospitals for the past four years.
"Our volunteers come in with their pets and visit with patients for comfort just to come in and say hi and smile to them and provide comfort", said Robin Hunt, Regional Manager, Mercy Memorial Hospitals.
Molly Mier is a volunteer in the program. Her dog Bernie has provided comfort to patients for more than a year now.
"We first started with basic obedience training, and then once he had that down we then did advance training that was more specific towards the therapy exam", said Mier.
The dogs in the pet therapy program go through a special certification process and have to get vaccinations before they can visit with patients.
"They are just coming with love and a lot of happiness to see someone that may be experiencing a difficult time", said Hunt.
Mier adopted Bernie from a local shelter after he was found wandering the streets. Mier says being a pet therapy dog is Bernie's way of giving back.
"It's nice to be able to spread that unexpected cheer for people and I always get a ton of thank you from people", said Mier.
For more information on the pet therapy program you can visit: