Scripps La Jolla held a special holiday party on Friday for some its very special volunteers, the four-legged kind.
The Pet Therapy Party is held every year to recognize the dogs that brighten the lives of patients at the hospital every day. The hospital has 25 certified pet therapy dogs.
"Our patients get an enormous comfort and joy from the dogs visiting, they feel the healing environment of having a dog near them," said Scripps Hospital's Susan Van Den Driesse.
The dogs and their humans visit patients and staff. The hospital says the visits help increase emotional well-being, promotes healing and improve both the patients and the staff's quality of life.
The human volunteers also reap rewards.
"I love the smiles that they bring on to people," said volunteer Julie Tahapary. "I love walking down the hallways and actually in different departments and greeting the nurses the doctors, because I know they bring so much joy and happiness and a just a relief of stress for the staff as well and the patients and families."
During the party, the dogs were blessed by the hospital chaplain.
If you are interested in your dog becoming a therapy dog, contact Scripps La Jolla's Volunteer Department. Van Den Driesse suggests making sure your dog would be comfortable in a hospital setting before applying.