Bob the Goldendoodle Brings Joy to Staff and Patients Alike at Tufts Medical Center
Bob is a working dog. The two year old goldendoodle works as a community service dog five days a week at Tufts Medical Center in Boston, Mass., complete with his very own identification badge. Both staff and patients agree: Bob is the cutest employee at the hospital. And the best part is that this dedicated pooch really loves his job.
The adorable therapy dog gets to the hospital every day around 7:30 a.m. with his handler Anne Marie Sirois, Tufts' manager of volunteer services. Sirois tells Daily Paws that the walk from the entrance of the hospital to her office should only take a few minutes—but routinely takes 30 to 45 minutes because everyone wants to say hi to Bob.
"You'll get staff who are just leaving from the night shift who stop and say hello. You'll get families who are coming in that want to say hello or patients that are just walking around the hospital who want to say hello. He wants to stop every single time," Sirois laughs.
Bob even has his own Instagram where he shares his "daily pupfirmations" including encouraging sayings like: "You are strong!" and "You can do anything!" With inspirational posts like these, it's easy to see how the pup became such a celebrity at the hospital.
But the road to notoriety wasn't an easy one. In fact, it took 2,200 hours of training before Bob became a famous canine with a dedicated fan base of doctors and nurses. The pup arrived at Tufts Medical Center in August of last year after his community service dog training at Canine Assistants, a nonprofit organization in Georgia that prepares and trains assistance animals. The hospital was able to acquire Bob through a Dogs for Joy grant from the Dunkin' Joy in Childhood Foundation, which works to place in-residence dogs in children's hospitals around the country who are specially trained to perform a range of tasks for their role.
Throughout the day, Bob (who is definitely more golden retriever than poodle, Sirois notes) visits with patients of all ages throughout the hospital. Sirois says Bob is a great support for children, families and staff, as well as a great resource to help reduce pain and provide comfort. He also helps patients with mobility needs.
"Bob is like having another human coworker. He is amazing," Sirois said. "He brings joy to anybody that he comes in contact with, but he also knows when to just lay down and be that comfort for the patient."
When asked who likes him best—the staff or the patients—Sirois can't decide: "It's a mix!"
Charlie West, a patient waiting for a heart transplant, told the Boston Globe in an interview that Bob helps him when he's feeling down. "If I'm feeling low, he'll jump up and hang out a bit," West shared. "He brightens my day and breaks the monotony. If I feel down in the dumps, he helps out."
Sirois adds that Bob's arrival in the middle of the COVID-19 pandemic was the best gift the hospital could ask for. She says he's brought a lot of much-needed love and happiness to stressed hospital staff and patients who have limited visitors.
"Especially during the pandemic, he's brought so much to our hospital," she says. "He's brought comfort and joy to everybody during this time."