ZIONSVILLE, Ind. - A pediatric nurse and her huge, fluffy pet brought a special message to one Zionsville school Thursday.
Former pediatric nurse Janet Myers and her 113-pound Bernese mountain dog named Bentley traveled to Stone Gate Elementary to teach the kids about pet therapy.The students didn’t know why they were gathered in the gym, but when Bentley arrived, his presence got an immediate response.
Myers and Bentley have been volunteering as a pet therapy team for years.
At programs like the one at Stone Gate -- and through Myers' book "Booboos Band-Aids and Bentley" -- Myers and Bentley teach kids not only how therapy dogs can help lead the blind and help those with disabilities, but also how pet therapy works to help ill and injured patients.
"It lowers children's anxiety. It's also been proven to lower their level of pain and improve their mood," Myers said. "It's really fun to see people encounter him because they go from a serious demeanor to ear-to-ear smiles no matter how old they are."
Bentley wowed the crowd at Stone Gate with tricks, dancing and costumes, and a lesson about helping others.
"I thought it was fun and encouraging. And I think Bentley actually helped a lot of people," said Will Schwab, 7.
"I think he's pretty cool," 7-year-old Avery Keller said. "I think he plays with them and makes them feel better, makes them smile."
Bentley will be making the rounds at Riley Hospital for Children on April 1. It will be the first time in decades a therapy dog has been allowed in that hospital.
To visit Bentley's website, click here.