By Tracey Leong

BALTIMORE (WJZ)– A nonprofit organization is comforting Maryland patients by bringing in therapy dogs.

National Capital Therapy Dogs is a regional nonprofit that goes into hospitals and nursing homes to help comfort patients with dogs and their handlers.

There are more than 200 volunteers with the nonprofit program that’s established throughout Maryland, Delaware and Virginia, but they need more volunteers in Baltimore, where there are only about 24.

Volunteer Pam Goode and her dog Maverick like to spread cheer to every patient, like 3-year-old Mason at GBMC.

It’s an unexpected treat during a vulnerable time.

“Especially for children who love dogs like Mason,” his mother Amanda Panniell said. “It’s a great experience, it helps keep them positive–keep their mind off what they’re going through.”

“Gives them a lot of comfort and support, there’s a lot of research out there, that shows it helps, in the ailment or stress that they’re under,” Goode said.

The program is in desperate need of more volunteers.

“We have 15 facilities in the greater Baltimore area, we don’t have nearly enough volunteers to go around and it’s hard when you have kids who want visits adults who want visits and we don’t have enough people to fill those requests right now,” Barbara Laricos said.

National Capital Therapy Dogs has training classes coming up in March. 

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