Following more than a year-long hiatus due to the COVID-19 pandemic, volunteers — including pet therapy dogs — have returned to Banner Desert Medical Center and Banner Children’s at Desert, both at 1400 S. Dobson Road in Mesa.
The first pet therapy dog back is Riley, a 9-year-old rescued Dachshund mix whose handler, Julie Brown, said he’s very loving and gets along well with children and adults, according to a release.
The first stop on Riley’s return-to-“work” visit was to see 5-year-old Gordon Hardy, who is in the hospital for chemo to treat Ewing’s Sarcoma.
“Gordon often suggests that the one thing to make him feel better is a dog, so this visit is just wonderful,” Elisabeth Hardy, Gordon’s mom, said.
Riley makes an impression wherever he goes in the hospital. Several nurses were thrilled to see him and learn that pet therapy has returned after a long time without four-legged friends in the hospitals.