Therapy dog helping patients and loved ones at OhioHealth's inpatient hospice care center

(WBNS-10TV)
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Two years ago, Kobacker House welcomed their 2-year-old comfort retriever, Finn. He works 9 a.m. to 5 p.m. Monday through Friday, walking the halls greeting everyone and spending time in each room with each patient.

He's been coming to OhioHealth's inpatient hospice care center since he was 8 weeks old. He shares his love with people in their final days or with patients just receiving treatment.

For many people, he brings a smile to their faces during a difficult time when it's needed the most.

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Finn went through two weeks of training, or what his owner calls "boot camp." One of his most popular commands is when his owner, clinical nurse manager Amanda Dobosh, calls give love.

When he is asked to give love, Finn will put his paws on the side of a patient's bed and let them pet him.

Dobosh said if a patient isn't in a place where they are able to interact with Finn, he'll sit with family members in the room and keep his company.

"You see their grief in their eyes, these families and the patients, and when Finn walks in the entire mood of the room changes," Dobosh said.

The patients and their loved ones aren't the only ones Finn helps, he also provides comfort to the staff at Kobacker as well.

"He's such a de-stressor, you can be in a very emotionally charged situation you walk out and see Finn and poof, he just puts a smile on your face," Deborah DePaso said.

Dobosh said many times the staff will take a few minutes to sit with Finn or lay next to him in her office. However, after those few moments, their focus immediately goes right back to being there for their patients and their families.

"For families to let us in, in those darkest moments is an absolute privilege," Dobosh said.

"Building relationships with them, their trust, being able to comfort during a difficult time is amazing," DePaso said.

Finn was donated to Kobacker by a patient's family. His vet bills, food and anything else he needs in order to do his job is funded by the OhioHealth Foundation.

They are working on getting another dog to provide comfort in the evenings on the weekend.