They answer to names like Maggie, McDuff, Skippy and Suzie, but to their "patients" at Glendale Adventist Medical Center, they are the doggie doctors.
Wearing official hospital ID badges, the pooches in the hospital's Top Dogs pet therapy program make the rounds each week at the hospital, helping break the monotony for people hospitalized for extended periods as they undergo rehabilitation therapy or recover from surgery.
Their prescription--a huge dose of puppy love.
"When a person holds a dog, their pain goes away for a little while. You can see it in their face," said Rosalie Youra, whose Shih Tzus, Brandee and Mikee, have been in the program since its inception three years ago. "The staff looks forward to the dogs, too. They always have a treat for them."
Pet therapy has been around for more than 25 years and has become an accepted part of recreational therapy programs. Hospital officials said the dogs' mere presence can sometimes lift the a patient's dreary spirits and thereby improve their chances of recovery.