Craig Hospital therapy dog undergoes spinal surgery, therapy and is back at work


Sage the therapy dog back at work at Craig Hospital

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ENGLEWOOD, Colo. -- Sometimes, a healer needs healing.

In this case, the healer's name is Sage, and Sage is a Doberman pinscher. Sage has been a therapy dog at Craig Hospital for almost four years.

“People when they see Sage their eyes light up and they immediately forget about their problems and pain,” Sage's owner and volunteer at Craig Hospital Jane Saunders said.

The healing power of a therapy dog has not gone unnoticed by doctors and therapists alike.

“A lot of our pet therapy animals get up on the mat with patients while they are doing their therapy. If they’re in a lot of pain, having a dog around really gets their mind off that,” said Lori Womeldorff, Craig Hospital therapeutic recreation specialist.

In a twist of fate, Sage was suffering from a pinched spinal cord in his neck.

“He was in such pain that if I even touched his chin he would scream," Saunders said.

In April, Sage underwent a four-hour spinal operation. After five months of therapy, he’s back at work at Craig Hospital.

“Just having him go through surgery and a lot of the spinal cord stuff like our patients do, just has even more of a bond with our patients,” Womeldorff said.

In just the past couple of years, Craig Hospital has doubled the number of therapy dogs from 25 to more than 50.

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