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Pet Therapy Program

Mount Nittany Health has a pet therapy program to enhance the overall well-being of our patients, staff, and the Centre region. The dogs participating in Mount Nittany Health’s Pet Therapy Program undergo strict testing processes, and are certified by organizations like the Alliance of Therapy Dogs and Therapy Dogs International. Both the therapy dog and owner go through volunteer training at Mount Nittany Health.

Meet Our Volunteer Therapy Dogs


Millee is a sheltiepoo – a cross between a Shetland sheepdog (commonly referred to as a sheltie) and a miniature poodle, and weighs 14 pounds. She will be two years old on January 31st. Millie’s owner is Julie Reed, Registrar/Scheduler, Mount Nittany Health Internal Medicine.

“Millie is an intelligent, independent ball of energy who loves people, attention, playing ball, riding in the car, chew-toys, and jerky treats. All of this, of course, in addition to being a serious working therapy dog,” said Julie.

Once Millee’s vest goes on, she knows she is working and appears to take extraordinary pride in what she does. Prancing from patient to patient, Millee is very attentive to her handler for instruction while volunteering. She can keenly sense which patients need extra love and attention.


Cooper is a gentle golden retriever who recently turned four-years-old. Over the summer, he completed seven weeks of basic obedience training and seven weeks of agility training. His human was inspired to certify him as a volunteer therapy dog after reading an article in the local paper about the benefits of pet therapy and its implementation at Bellwood Elementary School. Cooper received his therapy dog certification through the Alliance of Therapy Dogs in September.

In addition to bringing smiles and joy to patients at Mount Nittany Medical Center, Cooper regularly visits a veteran’s affairs home, Blair Senior Services, H.O.P.E Drop-In Center, Penn State Altoona, Mount Aloysius College, Altoona Area High School, Penn Lincoln School, Hollidaysburg High School, and several local churches. In January, his services will also extend to Bellwood Elementary School where he will provide a calming presence for schoolchildren who are learning to read.

When he is not busy serving the community, Cooper loves his ball, his stuffed duck, and his stuffed bear. He also loves bacon, but he only gets it when he is training. He is a very good boy who adores all people and loves being petted.

Connor and Faolin

Connor is a six-year-old Scottish terrier. He has worked as a therapy dog for almost four years at the Bellefonte Library and in the Bellefonte Area School District. “Connor is a busy boy with scent, rally, agility, and therapy work,” said Cheryl Fugate, Connor and Faolin’s handler, Therapy Dog International Certifier, Mount Nittany Health volunteer. “Connor lives at home with his brother and two sisters, who are all Scotties. They love running and hunting for critters together, and trying to steal vegetables from the garden.”

Faolin is a 13-year-old Scottish terrier, who loves to work as a therapy dog. “I have thought about retiring him, but when he sees his work bag, he gets extremely excited,” said Cheryl. Faolin has worked for almost nine years at the Bellefonte Library with kids. He has been Santa Paws for the last few years, and has also been a judge for the Halloween parade in Bellefonte. “He is a two-time cancer survivor,” said Cheryl. “He is also a confirmed paper stealer. He finds paper extremely tasty.”


Daisy is certified through the Alliance of Therapy Dogs, an international registry of certified therapy dog teams that provides testing, certification, registration, support, and insurance for members who volunteer with their dogs in animal-assisted activities. She is also the spokes-pup for the Jared Box Project – a local, non-profit organization that helps bring the gift of play to children in hospitals.

When Daisy is volunteering, heartwarming moments are bound to happen. Mandy shared that the pair recently visited an office to decrease stress and boost morale when Daisy was drawn to one gentleman in particular.

“I thought maybe he had some bacon in his pocket,” joked Mandy. “It turned out that his family dog had just passed away the weekend before and he hadn’t told any of his co-workers yet. Thankfully, having Daisy there seemed to create a comforting space for him to talk about it. She has a knack for knowing where she’s needed most.”


Baily is an eight-year-old mini American shepherd, born on April Fools’ Day. His family adopted him after his previous owner passed away unexpectedly. He has two canine sisters, also both mini American shepherds. His life is filled with constant play, ball catching, and plenty of squirrel chasing.

“Baily is a herding breed, trained in multiple activities such as agility, scent work, coursing, fast cat, rally, and obedience,” said Cindy Lorenzo, Baily’s handler and Mount Nittany Health volunteer. “He is also a trained therapy dog who loves people and can sense those in need of comfort. I often tell people that therapy dogs are not trained, they are born that way.”

As a therapy dog, Baily works at the Bellefonte Library in the Tail Waggin’ Tutors reading program, visits various schools in the Bellefonte Area School District, volunteers with the Tides support program, and is now proud to serve Mount Nittany Health as a canine volunteer.