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Therapy dog brings joy to Baptist Hospital children and staff

The volunteers at the Baptist Health System are a vital part of the hospital team. But one special duo is making a lasting difference.

SAN ANTONIO — Nine-year-old Finley, a therapy dog, and his owner, Debbie Sinks, have served at North Central Baptist hospital since 2012. KENS 5 followed the pair as they roamed the halls to greet patients and staff. 

Sinks says Finley is a dedicated therapy dog who is always eager to go volunteer.

“When he sees me get out either his little scarf with Baptist Hospital or I get out my smock or his collar, he gets really excited. He's ready!” Sinks said.

Finley is more than just cute. He has a variety of tricks in his back pocket, or rear paw, to help patients forget for a moment that they’re in a hospital.

“The blood pressure, for example, goes down. Anxiety goes down. If some child can pet a child and stroke that dog, the fears go away,” said Lisa Kyrisch, North Baptist volunteer coordinator.

Sinks and Finley are committed to their role at the hospital. In 2015 he was hit by a car and nearly died, but Sinks brought him back to the hospital in a stroller to continue their volunteer work. 

She says their visits to the hospital not only helped Finley heal quickly, but brought joy to patients who needed his help.

Credit: KENS 5
Finley in a stroller

“A little girl we went to and saw had just gotten a cast on her arm and was crying. She saw the dog with the hot pink cast,” Sinks said. “It was just so cute; we got her to not cry. That was the great part.”

If you are interested in volunteering with your dog, contact the Baptist Health System.

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