As the saying goes, dogs are man's best friend and they are coming through in a big way for staff at Baylor University Medical Center in Dallas.
The hospital networks' assisted animal therapy program includes 103 specially trained therapy dogs. They are used not only for specific therapy treatments, but also to simply visit with patients to brighten their day.
On Friday, a day after the shooting of police officers in downtown Dallas, they comforted the emergency department staff.
Eli is one of the dogs on the team, handled by Linda Marler, the program coordinator, who visited staff.
"It's unconditional love, just gives them an outlet to be able to hug something soft and warm," Marler said.
For Rachel Meyer, a radiology technologist, the snuggly embrace and wet kisses brought smiles on a day where there wasn't much to smile about.
"You forget for a second what happened and you forget what's going with everything. Having to be up here – the atmosphere – you kind of forget for a second. So it was nice just for that moment forgetting about all that has happened," Meyer said.
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Eli also provided comfort to one of the injured officers and his family.
"They were just really glad that we were there. Eli got up on a chair right beside him and he was able to pet on him," Marler said.