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San Diego therapy dogs bring comfort after surviving their own traumas

Posted: 10:20 AM, Jun 07, 2019
Updated: 2019-06-07 13:20:10-04
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OCEANSIDE, Calif. (KGTV) - Therapy dogs are tasked with healing patients who are up against diversity.

But two who walk the halls of Tri-City Medical Center have their own stories of survival.

"I think every one of us, animal or human, has our own story. We all have our trials and tribulations. And so I think having animals that have been through some difficult times helps them relate with our patients in a much more profound way," said Aaron Byzak, Chief External Affairs Officer for Tri-City Medical Center.

Two veterans of the Pet Therapy Program are Prince the poodle and Calamity Jane the golden retriever, one a cancer survivor and the other a trauma survivor.

"She's a very strong, strong, little pup, she's got a mind of her own," said Shar Pauley, who rescued Calamity Jane. "And she tells me which rooms she'd like to visit. Sometimes she'll walk down that hallway and then she'll stop and say I think this person needs a visit."

The program has been comforting patients for over 20 years now.

"He's had nine lives, and I think part of his motivation for giving back is he just loves to work, and he loves people," said Mary Gleisberg, Prince's owner.

The dogs must go through a rigorous process to earn their badge and must receive a bath before walking their rounds in the hospital.