By Ken Molestina

MANSFIELD (CBSDFW.COM) — The staff at Methodist Mansfield Medical Center is celebrating National Therapy Dog Day by showing their appreciation for all their four legged cuddlers that roam the hospital floors offering smiles to patients and staff members.

Several dogs, and their owners were honored on Monday during a casual ceremony where the dogs were treated to cakes and snacks, and given new vests and leashes.

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Program director Laura Sweatt said it’s proven that therapy dogs help improve the overall health and spirits of many of their patients.

Sweatt added, “The research found pet therapy has great benefits for pain management, reduction of anxiety, and reduction of stress.”

Bred to work closely with humans, English Springer Spaniel dogs are highly trainable people-pleasers. They crave company and are miserable when neglected. This one named ‘Scout’ also has perfect highlights. (photo credit: Mary Beth Buster)

Patients like Kori Juedeman say seeing the dogs around and being able to cuddle with them instantly makes her feel better.

“I think it’s a really awesome thing that they do for the hospital. I think it’s amazing that they would bring the dogs in to help the patients,” said Juedman.

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She added, “I love to cuddle with dogs.”

The therapy dog program at Methodist Mansfield started about two years ago. It’s extremely popularity with everyone at the hospital, according to administrators.

Sweatt said, “A happy little distraction with some wagging tails makes all the difference.”

The dogs are around Monday through Friday and they are allowed almost everywhere in the hospital except for the Intensive Care Unit and the delivery room.

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