What A Good Boy! Therapy Dog Is Spreading Joy To Essential Workers And Getting ‘Insta-Famous’ In The Process

The hardworking pup is helping people all over New York City – and you can follow along on his adventures!

If you're an essential worker these days, your job has likely been anything but easy - and working long hours during a worldwide pandemic can certainly take its toll. Grocery workers, food service employees, healthcare staff have all been putting their lives on the line just to go to work – not to mention the stress of interacting with the public who, let's face it, aren't always the most polite and understanding.

Thankfully, there's a pup on a mission to bring smiles to those who have been working overtime to keep their communities safe and well-fed.

Buddy Gill is a licensed therapy dog at Memorial Sloan Kettering Cancer Center in New York City. While he continues to visit with the patients who need him at the center, he's expanded his efforts to reach those working outside of the cancer center. Healthcare staff, construction workers, first responders – no one is off limits when it comes to getting a mood-boosting visit from Buddy.

The Golden Retriever has his own Instagram account with 3,800 followers, and his audience is growing by the day. The account has dozens of videos of Buddy getting head pats, belly rubs and hugs from smiling strangers, and some familiar faces that have gotten to know the pup over the years he's worked at MSK.

"They work a 12+ hour shift and still make time to say hi to a silly dog on their way home," a video caption reads. "I love my friends!"

Judging from the smiles his presence brings to nurses, construction workers and first responders, that love is returned ten times over.

Aside from sitting, staying and rolling over, Buddy's greatest skill as a therapy dog seems to be his ability to bring calm to others during stressful and uncertain times.

"We're social beings as humans, and when we are experiencing a stressor, we turn to our social relationships," Megan K. Mueller, an assistant professor at Cummings School of Veterinary Medicine at Tufts University said in a statement. "A source of support for a lot of us is an animal."

Experts say that the soothing effects of therapy animals comes from their ability to distract people from stressful or uncomfortable situations. Also, an animal's lack of judgement, what some call "unconditional love," can help people feel safer in instances when human interaction feels overwhelming.

As for Buddy, he's working overtime to help as many humans as he can during the ups and downs of the coronavirus pandemic. By giving workers in NYC an escape from the stresses they feel day-to-day, Buddy is proving that you don't have to change the world in order to make people smile. You just have to be really cute, soft and accepting of pets and cuddles.

We love stories of animals helping others in extraordinary ways. Buddy is a hero in our book!

How can you start something good?

You can follow Buddy Gill and see all of his NYC adventures on Instagram.

The Conversation
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