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Patients and staff paws to enjoy visit from therapy dog

January 17, 2012
Adirondack Daily Enterprise

SARANAC LAKE - A visit from family and friends can be a welcome occasion for patients healing in the hospital.

Now, those patients at Adirondack Medical Center, a member of Adirondack Health, may enjoy a visit from everyone's best friend: a therapy dog.

Corey, a Labrador-shepherd mix affiliated with Therapy Dogs International, and his handler, Mary Mercurio, are providing a welcome respite for patients and staff at AMC.

Article Photos

During her recent stay at Adirondack Medical Center in Saranac Lake, Gail Corbin receives a visit from Corey, a registered therapy dog with Therapy Dogs International.
(Photo courtesy of AMC)

Therapy Dogs International was founded in the 1970s, and is the oldest therapy dog organization in the U.S. There is an ever-growing body of research supporting the positive emotional and physical health benefits therapy pets can provide. Each year roughly 24,000 certified dogs along with 20,000 certified handlers visit nursing homes, hospitals, and other care-facility settings throughout the country. Mary, Corey's handler, rescued him from a shelter about 8 and one-half years ago. In 2006, Corey was certified as a therapy dog after it was suggested to Mary he had an ideal personality for the program.

The insight into Corey's personality has proven accurate, and he has been brightening the day for many people since.

"It was amazing. It makes you feel good," said Lake Clear resident Gail Corbin, who was healing at AMC recently.

The visit is enjoyable for staff as well. "It made my day one million percent better," said Karla Brieant, a registered nurse on the medical floor at AMC.

Corey has been a regular visitor to Adirondack Medical Center, and a similar program is in place for the Mercy and Uihlein Living Centers in Tupper Lake and Lake Placid.

For more information about Therapy Dogs International, log onto



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