For Toby, spreading cheer is a full-time job. The goldendoodle has been brightening people’s days for years and recently stopped in Melrose, Massachusetts, for a milestone visit.
The sweet-natured and nurturing dog provides comfort and companionship.
“That’s really what it’s all about making people feel good about themselves," said Toby’s handler Diane Murano.
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Toby spends hours on the road delivering his floppy-eared, tail-wagging welcomes to anyone who needs a little extra love.
“You’re by yourself and some patients in the hospital don’t have visitors so when Toby comes up it brightens your day,” patient Evelyn Michaels said.
Toby’s visit to the MelroseWakefield Hospital marked his 800th visit as a therapy dog.
“He just brings joy to a lot of the patients," one nurse said.
For Toby, it started six years ago.
“It’s been a beautiful journey," Murano said. "So many faces, so many places.
Toby, who is registered through Therapy Dogs International, can often be found visiting veterans, schools, and nursing homes doing what he does best: making people smile.
Murano adopted Toby as a way to cope with personal loss. When she realized how much joy he inspired, she says she just knew she needed to share him.
“Sandy Hook happened... and then four months later the Marathon," Murano said. "Both of those events, or tragedies, I saw the therapy dogs on TV and was really moved by the impact that they had."
Murano decided that’s how she and Toby would give back. If every visit brings just one person a little extra comfort, it’s a job well done.
“When you pat him and you talk to him it’s like everything just leaves," Michaels said. "It’s very calming.”
The pair agrees, the work is far from over.
Murano says, “I’m just going to keep on going.”