A Dog With A Very Unusual Job Description.

Anna Dressel and Rocket.

NutriSource Pet foods, the company that presents the Raising Your Paws podcast, financially helped the M Health Fairview University of Minnesota Masonic Children’s Hospital add a new full time employee to their staff – a full time facility dog named Rocket. He arrived from Georgia in November, 2019 after being specially trained to help sick children and their families deal with the medical experiences they were all going through at the hospital.  In addition to seeing a video about Rocket below, you can now also hear all about what Rocket is like and hear the remarkable stories of how he just seems to know exactly who really needs the kind of comfort only a canine can provide.  That’s because on the show this week and in the next episode airing on April 21, I spoke to Rocket’s human partner and handler, Anna Dressel, a child life specialist who works with Rocket full time. In part one of our conversation, she will tell you all about him, the comical gesture Rocket show’s when he is comfortable with nurses, what’s its like to work and live 24 hours a day with this animal and describes a typical day in their life at the hospital helping people. Rocket’s skills extend way past what typical therapy dogs do. Make sure you tune in next time to episode 65 as well, to hear the truly incredible stories of when Rocket, himself without any prompting from Anna, approached two particular people who desperately needed his soft and kind attention. 


The video of Rocket taken at the M Health Masonic Children’s Hospital.


We were lucky to score some additional photos from Anna Dressel’s own files.

Rocket and Anna working, using the shared leash to help a patient feel more comfortable as they head to a procedure. (Photo by Jim Bovin)


Nap time – Rocket gets tired, just like we do – he’s getting some much needed rest after some hard work while I chart on our patient interactions. (Photo by Jim Bovin)


Anna and Rocket at work. (Photo by Jim Bovin)


Rocket’s life is not all work – there is plenty of playtime both in and out-of-doors. (Photo by Jim Bovin)
Anna Dressel and Rocket get help from a second handler, Amy Wynia.  Such a noble photo of him. (Photo by Canine Assistants)
The other video of a Golden Retriever getting a lot of attention by helping neighbors maintain distance during the pandemic, stay-at-home order.




Full Show Notes for Raising Your Paws Podcast Episode 64

Title: How a Canine Hospital Staff Member Helps Children & What To Do First, After Adopting or Fostering a New Pet.

Fostering of pets is on the rise. All over the country, animal shelters have been putting out calls for community foster homes and people are responding. Adoptions are up as well. If you are thinking of fostering or adopting or have recently done so, I’ll discuss a few of the first things to consider to make sure your new dog or cat’s transition into your home.

I’ll start with the most important thing to know about what will be needed for dog owners and the two key things to do in your home for cat owners.

Then, NutriSource Pet Foods, donated the funds, so that the M Health Fairview University of Minnesota Masonic Children’s Hospital, could obtain a full time canine facility dog. His name is Rocket, he’s been on the job since November, 2019 and his human partner and handler, Anna Dressel, a Certified, Child Life Specialist at the hospital is my guest on the show today.   You’ve got to hear the amazing stories of how this unique golden retriever demonstrates the ability to know, who really needs his special type of comfort.


Additional Resources for the show.

Anna Dressel and Rocket.

More information from the M Health Masonic Hospital:

M Health Fairview University of Minnesota Masonic Children’s hospital website page about Rocket.

Visit https://www.mhealth.org/childrens to learn more about the hospital.

For more information about Rocket, at NutriSourcepetfoods.com.





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