— Caroline Foreback (@CarolineWJZ) June 13, 2023
Graduation is a big day for anybody, but it's especially exciting for a 5-year-old Rottweiler named Loki. The clever pup has been training as a service therapy dog while her owner, Dr. Caroline Benzel, was working through medical school. This Tuesday, she was awarded an honorary “Dogtorate” of Medicine by the University of Maryland Baltimore as recognition for her contributions to patients at the hospital.
Loki and Benzel both attended the special ceremony where the Rottie was named an official “dogtor.” It was a meaningful day for both dog and human after training so hard together. “The week I got her was the same week that I was accepted to medical school,” Benzel explains. “So I started putting her through service-dog level training but I knew I was going to try to make her a therapy dog for the hospital.”
So, while Benzel was studying medicine, her dog was also putting in the hours by “treating” hospital patients with her kind and calm demeanor. Her exceptional personality allowed her to work in many different environments, even areas with loud machinery. “She could come into basically any part of the hospital that needed a therapy dog to come in,” Benzel explains, “and we would make sure that we're able to accommodate for everyone and everything.”
Loki's performance at the hospital was also praised by Dr. Bruce Jarrel, president of the University of Maryland Baltimore. In fact, she was so impactful that the University of Maryland Medical Center is aiming to expand its therapy dog program so there will be more service dogs like her. “I think just the idea of having a therapy dog come in especially when you're at a really trying time in your life truly makes such a difference for people,” Benzel says.
The “pawfect” pair is now heading to West Virginia University where Benzel begins her residency. Loki will also continue her work as a therapy dog in the local hospital.
Loki the Rottweiler, a service therapy dog, was given an honorary “Dogtorate” of Medicine by the University of Maryland Baltimore for her hard work.
View this post on Instagram