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Gus the therapy dog bringning “paw-sitivity” to Beacon Children’s Hospital

Published: Oct. 22, 2021 at 5:15 PM EDT
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SOUTH BEND, Ind. (WNDU) -In Friday’s Healthy Families and Futures segment, we’re meeting a four-legged friend providing a big boost to kids and parents at Beacon Children’s Hospital in South Bend.

His name is Gus and he just earned his therapy dog certification on Sept. 17th.

He’s only one year old and has been training for this moment literally his entire life.

Even though there’s a little bit of a language barrier between Gus and the people he visits, the type of therapy he provides doesn’t have much use for words.

One of the newest graduates from the Alliance of Therapy Dogs is going straight to work.

The one-year-old Sheepadoodle is a big hit with patients and families at Beacon Children’s Hospital and the Ronald McDonald House next door.

“Kids will come over and as soon as they check-in if they’re with their parents they’ll ask if Gus is here or we’ll tell them that Gus is here they’ll come and see him and it just brings a huge smile to their face,” said RMHC Michiana President & CEO Kierstin Miller.

Gus’s owner runs the operations at Ronald McDonald House, so it only makes sense that they carpool.

Sometimes he gives his owner a hard time

But when it comes to the kids, he’s nothing but sweet, soft, and snuggleable.

“A lot of these kids are going through really difficult times. So they’re sick, or injured, or are in pain, or are being poked and prodded. One of the best things that Gus does, for just a few minutes of time, they kind of forget that. They forget that they’re in the hospital and this provides them a little bit of fun,” Gus’s owner/RMHC operations director Kellie Montgomery.

Gus also made quite the impression on his new colleagues.

“Gus has also been therapy for the staff and our volunteers and everyone who comes through the doors. Everyone wants a snuggly dog to see and interact with, so it’s definitely brought a lot of comfort and smiles,” Miller said.

An absolute professional in bringing some “paw-sitive” energy.

Gus is also hypoallergenic, so no one is left out when he comes around.

Even though he just earned his official certification, he’s been helping out like this since he was just a pup.

“Especially during the pandemic, it was very quiet around here. We didn’t have a lot of families coming in and out and it got very lonely and quiet here. So having Gus here was [like having] a very uplifting spirit here around the house,” Montgomery said.

He trained at Top Notch Service Dogs in Elkhart for FOUR months before earning his therapy dog certification.

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