Our four-legged volunteers are always ready to lend a paw. They are Beacon’s pet therapy dogs. Sixteen specially trained and certified pups can be found making the rounds with their handlers, comforting patients who miss their own dog and bringing smiles to associates at Memorial and Elkhart General. You will meet our tail-wagging teams in the weeks ahead during our special “Dog Days of Summer” series.

Dog’s Name: Pi
Age: 7 years
Breed: All-American Mutt
Handler: Abbie
Home: South Bend

How long have you been a therapy dog? My big brother Nemo was a great Therapy Dog. When he passed away last year, I stepped up to follow in his big paw prints.

“The best part of my job is …” Finding where my favorite nurses are each week. I seek them out so that I can make them smile.

Describe your personality: Practically perfect in every way, if I do say so myself. I am very sweet and sensitive, but I am also very wiggly and always ready to go on an adventure!

What tricks do you know: I love to balance a cookie on my nose and wait for the patients to tell me to flip it into my mouth. Cool, huh? I like to dance and shake paws, too. I love to run through tunnels and jump through hoops, but I don’t do those tricks at the hospital.

Favorite human food: Food? Did you say food? Can you see my big, brown, puppy dog eyes and how hungry I am? I LOVE all food, everything from carrots to fro-yo, but my mean mom only lets me have vegetables unless it is a special occasion.

Favorite toy: Shark-a-kin. He looks like a shark, but has a dolphin tail. He sings when you squeeze him. Mom hides him sometimes because I love to make him sing a lot. I always find him though.

Favorite movie: The Life of Pi. It’s all about me, right?

Biggest pet peeve: When I hear people saying, “Oh, poor dog.” I am paralyzed in one leg and use a brace to walk when I am somewhere that I might hurt my paw. With the brace, I can run and play like a normal dog. I climb mountains and go jogging with my mom, play with my doggy brothers, and even do agility. I am a happy dog who just walks funny, but that’s why I like to inspire people to overcome the obstacles in their life and be happy – just like me!

Who’s your hero and why? The Hulk. Hulk Smash! When I where my brace, I like to smash toes, just like my hero. I wonder if that might be why my mom doesn’t let me wear it at the hospital.

Car rides or walks? Walks? My leash is right there. There it is, do you see it? I’m ready. Let’s go!!!!

Rawhide or pig’s ear? Do I have to choose? Can I have both please?

“I get so excited when my owner says …” Cookie!!!! Is there any word better in the whole world?

“I will never forget the time when I …” Convinced my mom to adopt me. My paralyzed leg made living in a shelter hard, and I was sad and just moped in the back of my kennel. When they brought me out to meet my mom, I knew she was the person for me. I leapt into her lap, kissing her all over. I told her I could be the hiking dog that she wanted, even though I didn’t even know how to walk yet. She believed in me and she has been my person ever since. Best day of my life.

How would you describe your perfect day? I love going for a nice, shady hike with my brothers, and then going for fro-yo afterward where everyone pets me and tells me I am beautiful.

If you could talk, what advice would you give the patients you see? Just because you have to do things a little different to overcome obstacles in your life, doesn’t mean that life can’t be an amazing adventure.