Giant Therapy Dogs Providing Comfort to Hospital Patients

When one thinks of therapy animals, Great Danes, which are larger than some horses, are probably not the first breed that comes to mind.

But they are a huge success at a Minnesota hospital. Pun intended.

“If a nurse is unaware of our arrival and the size of our dogs, they may feel intimidated,” Wayne Chmelik said.

Chmelik brings his two Great Danes, Hulu and Tootsie, to the hospital for therapy visits, but they need to be careful in navigating through narrow spaces due to their size. 

However, despite their imposing stature, the dogs are incredibly friendly and approachable.

According to Chmelik, the Great Danes are extremely friendly, except for squirrels, of course. He also mentioned that they are the most gentle animals he has ever raised.

Nellie Koubsky, a 3-year-old who was admitted to the hospital for appendicitis, became friends with Hulu, one of the Great Danes, despite his massive size. Hulu weighs 170 pounds, while Tootsie weighs 166 pounds, towering over the miniature horses in the local therapy animal association.

“Rachel Koubsky, Nellie’s mother, asked her daughter why she had come to the hospital.

“My tummy hurt,” Nellie replied.

However, just before her surgery, Nellie was visited by the biggest and friendliest dog she had ever seen.

“Did he help you feel better?” Rachel asked.

“Yes,” Nellie answered.

“For a little bit?”

“Yeah, he was just cheering me up,” Nellie said with a smile.”

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