Pet therapy is a growing trend in healthcare, and for good reason. The presence of animals does wonders for mental health, releasing endorphins and lifting spirits. Physically, petting or brushing a dog can be used to improve upper extremity weakness, and walking with a pet can get patients moving.

In celebration of the Dog Days of Summer, get to know just a few of the dogs (and one cat) that have played a part in patient care at Encompass Health hospitals across the country.

Ember
 
A golden retriever who lends a paw at Encompass Health Rehabilitation Hospital of Fayetteville, Ember is an animal-assisted therapy dog who assists patients in reaching their therapy goals. She delivers smiles and brightens days in a single bound.

Bella
 
A Bernese mountain dog at UVA-Encompass Health Rehabilitation Hospital, Bella never turns down string cheese or the chance to make a patient feel better.

Bandit
 
Even non-dog lovers can’t help but fall for Bandit, an English Black Labrador Retriever at The Rehabilitation Institute of St. Louis. Pass this pooch a carrot to make his day.

Captain Boo
 
This peppy little pup brings out smiles from patients at St. John Rehabilitation Hospital. Will work for chicken training treats.

Maggee and Mandie
 
Maggee, a miniature schnauzer, and Mandie, a Havanese, spend their time at Encompass Health Rehabilitation Hospital of Arlington turning frowns upside down.

Robbie
 
This Pembroke Welsh Corgi makes his rounds at Encompass Health Rehabilitation Hospital of Middletown to greet patients, asking only for a belly rub in return.

Scooter
 
Sure, he’s not a canine, but he is one of the few therapy cats in the U.S., inspiring patients through his own recovery and rehabilitation.

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