SYSK: Terry Hertges and her dog help rehab patients - KWWL - Eastern Iowa Breaking News, Weather, Closings

SYSK: Terry Hertges and her dog help rehab patients

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WATERLOO (KWWL) -

Zoey's a goldendoodle, which is a cross between a golden retriever and a poodle.

Zoey is a volunteer at the rehab department at Covenant Medical Center. Of course, she doesn't visit alone. The tail wagging pal comes with her owner, Terry Hertges of Elk Run Heights.

"I enjoy doing things with my dog. Taking her places you normally can't, and I enjoy seeing people get to see her and the happiness it brings them," said Hertges.

Terry and Zoey are part of P.E.T. P.A.L.S., which is a group of volunteers who visit local nursing homes, hospitals, schools, and other facilities.

Terry actually has a special tie to P.E.T. P.A.L.S.

"My mom was one of the first members when it started way back in the 70s perhaps. So, I grew up knowing about it. She had french bulldogs," said Terry Hertges.

When Terry adopted Zoey, she knew she'd be perfect for P.E.T. P.A.L.S. because Terry said Zoey loves everybody.

Any patient that's interested gets a chance to give Zoey a pat.

"Ask if they want to give her treats. Hopefully try to get them to relax a little. Make their day a little happier," said Hertges.

According to many studies, dogs have a calming and therapeutic effect, which Terry Hertges knows first-hand. She recently had knee surgery, and her husband brought Zoey to visit her, so she knows these visits help patients.

Terry was diagnosed with Parkinson's Disease in 2008. She said these visits with Zoey really help take her focus off of her own medical issues.

"I've found helping people in other ways helps me not thinking poor me. So I enjoy doing stuff like this and helping other people," said Hertges.

Neither Zoey nor Terry have to do much to bring a smile to a patient's face. The pair plans to visit rehab patients about twice a month.

Reporter: Danielle Wagner

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