MVMA Honors Extraordinary Therapy Dog

Rivertown Animal Hospital of Stillwater, MN is pleased to announce that our patient, Murphy, along with his companion Lesa Hobright-Turner, of Woodbury, MN have received the Companion Animal Award presented at the 2015 Annual Minnesota Veterinary Medical Association conference in Minneapolis, MN. Dr. Mary Arnesen nominated Murphy for this award because of his exceptional impact on people from all walks of life.  He has touched the lives of students, soldiers and everyone who has had the opportunity to interact with this extraordinary dog.

woman and dogMurphy is a Labrador/German Shepherd mix who is eager to offer a listening ear and encouraging presence to students who are learning and improving their reading skills. He has worked with elementary age children helping them gain confidence through his participation in the “Bark for Books” and “Monday’s with Murphy” reading programs at Middleton Elementary. His students are excited and squeal with delight for his visits. The impact he has with the kids is apparent. As one students shares, “He does not care if I mess up with the words. Murphy likes to put his head on my lap. He is kind to me. He helps people.” Another student writes, “I like to read when he puts his head on my lap. I think Murphy deserves an award because he is so calm and gentle and he has very very soft fur. He is the best listener.”

Not only does Murphy serve the students at Middleton two days a week, he also works with college students at the University of Minnesota through the “Pet Away Worry and Stress” initiative. This unique program allows students and faculty alike to maintain or achieve mental wellbeing during stressful times by spending time with Murphy; playing or simply sitting quietly together. Murphy has provided comfort to a soldier suffering from PTSD and a man fighting cancer. His gentle eyes, compassion for the needs of others, and patient understanding is consoling to those who are suffering emotionally and physically.

We are proud of Murphy and the partnership he has established along with his pet parent, Lesa, to provide love and understanding to those he meets. Through his intuition to the needs of others he has brought joy to people of all ages. We are truly honored to be part of Murphy’s care and to have such an outstanding animal selected for this award! Congratulations Murphy and keep up the good work!!