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Therapy dog Irwin is making a difference at local hospital

Published: Jul. 21, 2021 at 8:23 PM CDT
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PANAMA CITY, Fla. (WJHG/WECP) - Therapy dog Irwin is a three-year-old yellow lab.

He’s been at Emerald Coast Behavioral Hospital in Panama City for the past two years. Irwin came to the hospital after Hurricane Michael hit the city.

“We had had therapy nights where staff member could bring in their dogs, and we saw that positive benefit of the pet therapy and the joy and the love that they brought. And it really boosted the morale of our patients and so that led us to get Irwin,” Hospital Business Development Director Craig Segrest said.

While he is not your typical nurse or doctor, he is still doing a lot of healing.

One patient from the hospital said...

“I was in a crisis state.... sitting on the floor crying and Irwin came and sat down with me and calmed me down and helped me out of the crisis.”

Segrest, who is Irwin’s owner, says his furry companion is making a difference in the lives of patients.

“We knew it was going to have a lot of positive benefits for the hospital, for our community, for our patients. But we didn’t think it was going to be this good. It has really been amazing to see the work that he has done for them,” Segrest said.

Patients like our military members, some of who are coming out of a deployment and may need a little extra care.

“So it is really good for them, to spend time with him and get that unconditional love, and you know they are away from their family as well, so they so they have that kind of support here,” Segrest said.

Hospital employees say Irwin loves helping the patients almost as much as they love him.

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