NEW BERN, N.C. (WNCT) – Patients, as well as staff at CarolinaEast Medical Center, look forward to the days when they get a special visit from therapy dogs.

Since 2014, Therapaws has been making their rounds at CarolinaEast. Around 15 dogs of all shapes, sizes and breeds bring warmth and a sense of home for those at the hospital that can’t be at their own home.

“The handlers and the K9s become family because they look forward to seeing the staff. They look forward to seeing the patients and vice versa,” said Kara Chadwick, volunteer services manager at CarolinaEast Medical Center.

One of the dogs in the Therapaw program is a Dachshund named Hamilton. Because of his short legs, he gets pushed around in a stroller to make visits.

“It is amazing. I can’t even tell you the tears it brings to the people’s eyes. You can just see them relax with the dogs there,” said Jane Plant, a nurse at the cancer center and Hamilton’s handler.

Many of the dogs are rescues. New dogs to the program learn the ropes by veteran dogs. The dogs that have been in the program for a long time take the new ones under their wing. The K-9s have to go through a certification program to be qualified to be a therapy dog at the medical center.

“The way it works is that we ask that they have their AKC Canine Good Citizen certifications and they would also get their secondary certifications as a certified therapy dog,” said Chadwick.

If you know someone who’s at the CarolinaEast Medical Center that would like a visit from one of the therapy dogs, you can click here.