Raleigh hospital seeks dogs to volunteer as therapy pets

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RALEIGH, North Carolina (WTVD) -- UNC Rex Hospital's "Fur Friends" dog therapy program has been growing since it began five years ago, and they could use more doggy volunteers.

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The dogs help lift the spirits of patients who are recovering in the hospital for long periods - sometimes three to four weeks at a time.

Rex has 11 dogs in the program and is looking for more.

If you and your dog would like to volunteer, check out the requirements and info to have your dog certified here.

"In research studies that have been conducted it shows that when a patient engages with a dog - especially in a hospital setting - you lower their blood pressure and also releases those hormones that are endorphins," hospital volunteer coordinator Sherry Mendenhall said.

"I've been away from my pets quite a bit and totally love Ariel's visits both times I've been here," said Barbara Flagle, a patient at UNC Rex who's been in and out of the hospital for the past five years.

"I just feel happier, more alive, like you have the love of a friend to pick you up and you feel better," she said. "Or like you know, it's more like your own visitor. I don't have any relatives living so, this is my new relative right here that's come to visit."

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