When Harry Met Dennis.

Never doubt the healing power of a pooch. Just ask the Hagertys.

Emily Hagerty saw Harry, a Great Pyrenees, at work for FHN Family Counseling Center's 'Beyond Words' pet therapy program and got a great idea. She knew a visit from Harry was just what her dad, Dennis, needed to make him feel better after complications from leukemia and transplant surgery. So Emily looked online and got in touch with Harry's "human," Marilyn Smit. Soon after, the pair scheduled a trek to Warren, hoping to help Dennis through some tough times.

According to Emily, "Dad dreaded going on disability and felt so sick for so long. Harry really boosted his spirits. The two bonded right from the start. Harry's calm demeanor and gentle nudge forged an instant friendship."

At the end of the visit, Dennis simply said with a smile, "Harry, you can just stay right here with me." Being with this gentle giant helped him realize he wanted a canine companion in his life. So the family got him a new Shi-Poo he named Wilson and it has continued to help his outlook.

The benefits of pet therapy are something to bark about; they are well-documented and have become integrated in mainstream medicine.

If you or someone you know could benefit from visiting with a certified therapy dog, call FHN at 1-877-6000-FHN (1-877-600-0346) ext. 925. The human health value of a furry friend should not be underestimated!

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