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Mercy Hospital South welcomes a 4-legged worker

Shadow's first day is Monday, Sept. 20.
Credit: Duo Dogs

ST. LOUIS — After lots of treats and praise, one dog is ready to work at one of St. Louis' largest hospitals.

Shadow, an English Labrador Retriever, was raised by Duo Dogs, which is a St. Louis-based nonprofit that connects dogs with people to bring about positive change throughout communities.

It takes Duo Dogs two years to raise, train, and place a facility dog. The group has been training Shadow for 19 months, all in preparation for the big day: her official assignment.

Shadow was appointed to Mercy Hospital South, which marks the first time a facility dog has been an official member of the hospital. Her job will be to provide comfort and spread love to patients, staff, and visitors. 

“There is something incredibly special about the bond between humans and dogs – especially in a place of healing,” said Dawn Van Houten, CEO of Duo Dogs. “Dogs like Shadow can bring a sense of calm and a feeling of home to a hospital environment. We know she will make a difference at Mercy, one patient at a time.”

Credit: Duo Dogs

Shadow has her official Mercy ID badge, which will be affixed to her Duo Dogs blue vest. Her first day at Mercy South will be Sept. 20.  

The organization has placed 38 Facility Dogs across nine states in the past five years.