Spring 2020

Dog at work

University of Minnesota Masonic Children’s Hospital’s first-ever facility dog is winning the hearts of patients, families, and staff alike

He wasn’t hired only for his fabulous hair, or even for his ability to stay cool under pressure. 

Rocket was handpicked to be the first-ever facility dog at M Health Fairview University of Minnesota Masonic Children’s Hospital because of his advanced, specialized training from Canine Assistants, a Georgia-based service dog organization.

Since the 2-year-old golden retriever joined the hospital staff in November, Rocket and his handler, certified child-life specialist Anna Dressel, have spent 40 hours a week working with children at the hospital. 

They’ve encouraged children to get up and walk after surgery, helped kids learn to take their medicine, and simply been there for a good cuddle on hard days. Because of his rigorous training, Rocket also may stay in patients’ rooms during medical procedures to provide comfort during those particularly stressful moments.

It’s all part of the hospital’s new NutriSource Facility Dog Program, launched by a $250,000 gift from KLN Family Brands and supported by many other Rocket fans.

Make a gift to support Rocket and the NutriSource Facility Dog Program at give.umn.edu/giveto/rocket.