'Henry' the therapy dog brings smiles to Norton Audubon Hospital - WDRB 41 Louisville News

'Henry' the therapy dog brings smiles to Norton Audubon Hospital

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LOUISVILLE, Ky. (WDRB) -- Most medical professionals go through years of training and school, but one local therapist was trained by inmates.

Plus, he is popular with the ladies.

At Norton Audubon Hospital, staff chaplain Matthew Eddleman isn't feeling as much love these days.

"There's a running joke in the hospital that since I got Henry, no one talks to me anymore because they always talk to Henry," said Eddleman.

Henry is a yellow lab, just shy of two years old.

"He is by far the most popular employee here in the hospital," Eddleman said. "It's great to walk onto a unit and hear people shout out, 'Henry!'"

He is Norton's first full-time therapy dog. He starts at 8 a.m., Monday through Friday, making three rounds a day, visiting staff and patients and crashing for naps in between.

He's been through lengthy training and staff at Norton Audubon love to show off how smart he is. He does tricks like giving high fives, retrieving items, and even pushing buttons to make doors open.

"One of our nurses calls Henry 'The Smile-maker,' because that's what patients do," Eddleman said. "They smile, they laugh, they light up when they see Henry. He's just part of the healing work that we do. If you feel good on the inside, you get better all the way around."

We saw that as we rounded the corner into the emergency room. Several women behind the desk started shouting Henry's name with glee, excited to see his wagging tail and showing off his happy face.

"Henry is a lover, but he's very intuitive," Eddleman said. "If you're feeling sad, he picks up on that. He's really adorable but he's had many moments in the hospital here, where staff have cried with him and just held him, and that's what he's here for."

He has a tail that hardly stops, plenty of love to give, and also a mischievous side. He's now Eddleman's full-time pet.

"I had a full tub of Country Crock butter, gone," he said. "Came out of the shower. Where was it? It was on the counter. He reached up and got it."

But really, can you hold it against him?

"You're such a good boy aren't you?" Eddleman said to Henry as they walked down the hall together. "You do good work here. You're a hard-working dog aren't ya?" 

Henry also works some nights and weekends, too.

Paws with Purpose is a non-profit that was founded in 2003. It provides assistance dogs as partners to children and adults with disabilities or special needs.

For more information on Paws with Purpose, CLICK HERE.

Henry was trained as a facility dog, which is a lengthy process. Facility dogs work with a professional in an official capacity, like Henry does.

You can also check out Henry's facebook page here.

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