ELKINS, W.Va. (WBOY) – The Elkins Rehabilitation Care Center (ERCC) and its Mountain Memories facility have welcomed their first therapy dogs.

After eight weeks of training, Annie and Molly can now spend time interacting with and motivating residents, and staff members.

“We have a few residents who have actually held on to her leash and walked with their walkers, and it gives them motivation to do things. They don’t realize how well they’re doing because they’re focused on the fact that they have Molly with them and that type of thing, so therapy goes well,” said Donna Jones, ERCC activities director.

Annie is a 3-year-old Goldendoodle, and she spends her time at Mountain Memories. Molly is a Shih Tzu and Poodle mix, and she spends three days of the week at the ERCC.

Annie and Molly (WBOY image)

“[Annie] wanders the halls, and goes into the residents’ rooms, and we do room visits or hall visits, and she just puts a smile on our residents’ faces, if they know that Annie needs to go outside and go to the bathroom they’re more than willing to, hey let’s go out on a walk, we will take her outside, so that gets them moving, or if they see she has treats out, they always want to give her treats and make sure she’s well fed and cared for,” said Abby Fincham, Mountain Memories life enrichment director.

In addition to the exercise that the therapy dogs offer to the residents, they also provide them with continuous companionship.