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Beloved therapy dog Cooper brings smiles to young patients at Jacobi Hospital

Cooper the English Sheepdog brings smiles to patients at Jacobi Hospital
Cooper the English Sheepdog brings smiles to patients at Jacobi Hospital 02:03

NEW YORK - Patients at Jacobi Hospital are getting a surprise that's turning their whole day around. 

"He's thrilled to be back here," said Kathie Jochen.

Cooper the dog doesn't get much down time when he visits Jacobi Hospital.

"So pretty and so big. Look at your eyes!" said someone who stopped to say hello. 

The 8-year-old English Sheepdog can make nearly anyone stop in their tracks for a quick photo shoot or just simply a hug.

"He knows where he's going," said Jochen, Cooper's owner and handler and works with Therapy Dogs of Rockland.

Cooper is finally back on the schedule making their rounds after he and Jochen took a pause during the pandemic.

"It's amazing the reception that he gets whenever he goes and does something like his," said Jochen. "He brings joy and happiness to everybody."

After a quick ride up the elevator, Cooper is ready to brighten the day of Jacobi's youngest patients.

"Hi Abdul how are you? Would you like to come pet Cooper?," Jochen asked a 3-year-old patient.

The impact Cooper has is instant. From room to room you can hear the giggles, see the smiles and feel the dose of strength patients get when they see him. 

"We had no idea what was going on with him. He just keeps getting fever spikes, so this was definitely a blessing," Duran's mom explained when Cooper came into his room.

Jochen says her own medical journey inspired her to give back.

"I have Crohn's Disease and I have spent months at a time in the hospital and when a therapy dog would come in it would make my day," said Jochen. "I knew how important it is. I knew how it would make my day go quicker and it was a break from routine."

Sometimes the smallest escapes can help us overcome our biggest obstacles.

Jacobi Hospital is currently accepting applications to add more therapy dogs to their programming.

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