ANNOUNCER: Anyone who has a pet knows animals can provide emotional support. But in hospitals across the country, therapy dogs like Rusty help with physical and occupational rehabilitation as well.
JESSICA DAIGLE, OCCUPATIONAL THERAPIST:To kind of take the biomechanical stuff we're working on, sitting balance, strengthening, things like that, and put a purpose to it - that actually works right in with the whole occupational therapy philosophy and that's why it works so well.
ANNOUNCER: Studies have shown that pets can lower blood pressure and ease depression. In occupational therapy, volunteer dogs give patients something to focus on â€“ other than the pain.
BARBARA, OCCUPATIONAL THERAPY PATIENT: I wanted to be good to Rusty, you know, gentle and nice. So it takes the focus off me and puts it on with the dog.
ANNOUNCER: Any type of dog can be a therapy dog â€“ provided he has the right training, temperament and is comfortable around strangers.
LESLIE DUMONT, GOOD DOG FOUNDATION VOLUNTEER: It's always been the case where when he's walking on the sidewalk he thinks it's his job to greet everyone. He has a great appetite for interacting with humans. So I think he loves the job.
ANNOUNCER: Thanks for joining us on today's once daily.