Dogs graduate therapy animal program

A dozen pups donned caps and gowns at the Pet Partners graduation at Gulfport Memorial Hospital in Mississippi on Saturday.

From tiny dachshunds to giant Newfoundlands, a dozen dogs spent weeks being trained and certified to enter nursing homes, libraries, and hospitals to offer people comfort and enjoyment.

"That puppy licked on her face and that girl smiled and laughed and giggled and was thrilled," therapy dog handler Carla Anderson said of a girl's visit with a dog. "People love the dogs,"

Anderson has handled therapy dogs for more than 20 years.

"Therapy dogs are born, they're not made," she said. "Not every dog has the personality to be a therapy dog."

Anderson said that they have many hard-working volunteers but could still use more help.

"We need more," she said. "We could visit every day at every facility and that probably still wouldn't be enough."

Anderson said therapy dogs need to have a calm, patient, and friendly personality.

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