Caring Canine Maisy surprises patients at Mankato hospital

Maisy surprises patients with a smile, a much-needed cuddle, and some relaxation during their visits.
Updated: Nov. 4, 2022 at 6:15 PM CDT
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MANKATO, Minn. (KEYC) - Meet Maisy, a four-year-old golden retriever, and one of the newest “Caring Canines” at the Mayo Clinic Health System in Mankato.

Maisy surprises patients with a smile, a much-needed cuddle, and some relaxation during their visits.

“It’s great. I’ve never seen a dog in here before,” patient Debora Niederriter said.

“It’s just like crazy because you expect to see dogs walking on the street, but not in a clinic,” 11-year-old patient Luke Goellner said.

In 2019, neurosurgeon Megan Murphy adopted Maisy as a family dog-

But she quickly learned that Maisy had a natural love for meeting new people and brightening their days.

“She had basic obedience and with this disposition, just seeing how she interacted with people, I thought this would be a good fit for her. And being what I do, it adds joy to my work in terms of seeing the benefit she gives my patients and their healing process,” Maisy’s owner and neurosurgeon Megan Murphy said.

Dr. Murphy has brought Maisy to the clinic every Friday since August of this year-

Giving Maisy the perfect opportunity to cuddle with staff.

“Now, they expect to see her, and everyone knows who she is. So, that’s been fun,” Dr. Murphy said.

Then, in September, Maisy became certified as a therapy dog- allowing her to see not only staff, but patients as well.

“Oh, she’s a good girl. She’s looking for treats,” in-patient Al Anderson said.

“I love dogs. I love cats. I love animals,” Goellner said.

“Working in healthcare is hard, you know, emotionally and physically. So, it’s nice to have some joy and snuggles available for people,” Dr. Murphy said.

Dr. Murphy hopes more people with certified dogs will take part in the Caring Canine program, to make a positive impact on patients who need some joy while visiting the hospital.

“I think attending to those spiritual, emotional needs is a big part of healing, and I feel that pet therapy helps facilitate that- and bring joy to people and share your joy, in terms of how you share your animal with other people,” Dr. Murphy said.