A 12-year-old dog named Nugget so enjoys visiting patients at Mount Saint Joseph Hospital, that if you try to lead him away from the front door, he stubbornly tugs on his leash to go inside.
Then as he walks along the long hallways, he’s greeted by enthusiastic “hellos” from hospital staff, who give him gentle pats on the head.
“He leads me around to where he wants to go,” said Stuart Mah, who has raised Nugget since he was three. “Whether it’s to imaging, whether it’s to long-term care.”
Perhaps it’s the patients who most love to see the dog, and when CTV News joined the dynamic duo on their rounds, the Rottweiler-German Shepherd-Labrador-cross met two new residents.
The moment he walked into the room, their faces lit up.
“Oh, you’re wonderful,” said one, stroking Nugget on the head.
And when the gentle giant rolled-over for a tummy rub, both women—who don’t move like they used to–got down on the floor with him.
“Are you going to give kisses?” said the other.
Mah and Nugget are volunteers and try to visit a few times a week. It’s hoped what they do will show people the impacts of pet therapy.
“The connection that they have, the eye contact, is something that’s indescribable for me,” said Mah.
It was clear the visit made the ladies’ day—they didn’t want Nugget to go.
But he will be back.
“He’s 12 years old now and I don’t know how much longer I can do pet therapy with Nugget, but I really want to make the best of the moment and just stay in the moment,” said Mah.