Emotional support dog Shep retires after career of helping UNC cancer patients

CHAPEL HILL, N.C. (WTVD) -- Shep, a 12-year-old golden retriever, has retired from being an emotional support dog at N.C. Cancer Hospital.

For the past two years, Shep and his owner, Bill White, visited cancer patients who may need a pick-me-up.

Shep and White are part of the UNC PAWS (Peer Assisted Wellness Support) program that uses non-traditional interventions to reach cancer patients in need of some cheer during tough times.

"I really do think he understands what he's doing. I think he gets it. These dogs are so smart," White said. "I can say 'Shep, it's time to go to work,' and I think he really knows what we're getting ready to do."

White said that Shep is showing his age, so the time was right for him to hang up his leash and spend some time just being a dog.

White will continue to volunteer and has another dog that could step in now that Shep's retired.

Shep made his final rounds Wednesday.
Copyright © 2020 WTVD-TV. All Rights Reserved.