Five-Year-Old German Shepherd Named Luke a Star of WRNMMC Facility Dog Program

Five-Year-Old German Shepherd Named Luke a Star of WRNMMC Facility Dog Program

Walter Reed National Military Medical Center’s facility dog program is an animal-assisted therapy program available to all patients and staff at WRNMMC. The program provides interactive care and innovative therapeutic interventions to alleviate participants’ pain and stress and boost their overall well-being. Facility dogs are originally trained as service dogs for the physically disabled, but also receive training in the new therapy skills they need to work at military health clinics and hospitals.

Facility dogs frequently visit both the inpatient and outpatient areas of the hospital to provide patients and staff members there with much-needed comfort and support. One of the program’s runaway favorites is a dog called Corpsman Luke, named for the patron saint of doctors, who was the subject of a recent feature by According to Luke’s handler, project manager, and licensed social worker Amy O’Connor, the five-year-old German Shepherd “never tires out,” providing a much-needed mood booster to service members and patients at WRNMMC.

Luke typically works for around an hour and a half, twice daily. His routine generally consists of visits to the hospital’s wards, intensive care unit, or pediatric clinic. Facility dogs may also occasionally attend wellness meetings, visits with patients’ families, and official ceremonies. 

The Importance of Proper Care for Therapy Animals

There’s no denying that interactions with therapy animals can be immensely healing for people suffering from illness or injury of any kind. However, it’s equally important for these hardworking dogs and cats to get just as much care and support as they receive.

If you work with a therapy animal, go the extra mile to ensure that their needs are met and that they enjoy happy, healthy lives. Feeding them quality food and setting them up in their own space with custom dog beds, personalized puppy blankets, and their favorite toys are excellent ways to express your appreciation.

If you’re interested in learning more about animal welfare programs, pet events, and other animal-related initiatives taking place around the US, you’ll find all the latest news on the Barking Post Blog. Bookmark us today to get all the latest updates!

Older Post Newer Post Back to Blog