Busy nurses in DC hospital get some puppy love

WASHINGTON — What do hardworking nurses want during National Nurses Week? MedStar Washington Hospital Center found the answer at the end of a leash.

“We thought what better way to spread some cheer than to bring the pet therapy to the nurses rather than just the patients,” said Kathy Nasman, nursing director of the hospital center’s Unit 2C.

“This is just a way for them to decompress during a busy and very stressful workday,” she added.

For the first time, three therapy dogs roamed the hospital halls especially for the nurses on Thursday.

Nurses and other staffers at MedStar Washington Hospital Center enjoyed visits from three therapy dogs brought on Thursday especially for them as part of National Nurses Week. (WTOP/Michelle Basch)
Nurses and other staffers at MedStar Washington Hospital Center enjoyed visits from three therapy dogs brought on Thursday especially for them as part of National Nurses Week. (WTOP/Michelle Basch) (WTOP/Michelle Basch)
When MedStar Washington Hospital Center asked its nurses what they wanted for National Nurses Week, they asked for visits by therapy dogs. (WTOP/Michelle Basch)
When MedStar Washington Hospital Center asked its nurses what they wanted for National Nurses Week, they asked for visits by therapy dogs. (WTOP/Michelle Basch) (WTOP/Michelle Basch)
Sully the Leonberger, one of the therapy dogs, was an especially big hit. (WTOP/Michelle Basch)
Sully the Leonberger, one of the therapy dogs, was an especially big hit. (WTOP/Michelle Basch) (WTOP/Michelle Basch)
Two staffers at MedStar Washington Hospital Center meet Sully the Leonberger, a therapy dog. (WTOP/Michelle Basch)
Two staffers at MedStar Washington Hospital Center meet Sully the Leonberger, a therapy dog. (WTOP/Michelle Basch) (WTOP/Michelle Basch)
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Nurses and other staffers at MedStar Washington Hospital Center enjoyed visits from three therapy dogs brought on Thursday especially for them as part of National Nurses Week. (WTOP/Michelle Basch)
When MedStar Washington Hospital Center asked its nurses what they wanted for National Nurses Week, they asked for visits by therapy dogs. (WTOP/Michelle Basch)
Sully the Leonberger, one of the therapy dogs, was an especially big hit. (WTOP/Michelle Basch)
Two staffers at MedStar Washington Hospital Center meet Sully the Leonberger, a therapy dog. (WTOP/Michelle Basch)

Buddy the Shih Tzu, a regular at the hospital center, was joined by Biscuit the Golden Retriever and — biggest of all — Sully the Leonberger from the nonprofit group PAL, which stands for People. Animals. Love.

Nurses and other staffers crowded around the pooches to pet them, feed them treats and receive wet kisses.

“On every unit, there is nothing but positive response and just happiness,” said Nasman.

“It’s beautiful … it’s very therapeutic,” said nurse Luwam Berhane. “Usually, we work with patients who are sick, sad and depressed, and this can give you some refreshment and recreation.”


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