Hillsborough County

Therapy dog makes 200th visit to children's hospital in Tampa

TAMPA, Fla. (WFLA) -- One week before his seventh birthday and Riley the therapy dog has already reached an impressive milestone that has some of the youngest patients at Shriners Hospitals for Children in Tampa wanting him to come back for more.

"I was so excited to see him, he's so nice and friendly," 14-year-old Sophia Lins said as she and her younger sister waited in the lobby for their doctor's visit.

"He is really soft and he looks really happy," 11-year-old Mirta Molina said as Riley wondered into her room.

Riley is a very friendly Golden Retriever who has never met a stranger. His job is to roam the halls of the hospital and visit with sick kids.

"He's healthy. No problems. No issues and he turns seven next week and we are hoping at least another five to six years here and everybody here at the hospital would miss him if he didn't show up. So he can't let those fans down," Riley's owner Marc Rebhun said.

This week marks Riley's 200th visit, and in that time he's put smiles on hundreds of kids and adults faces.

"I guess it goes to show you that pet therapy just reaches everybody and how important it is for our kids," Shriners Public Relations Specialist Jessica Hill said. "If parents, volunteers, staff are smiling this much then you know how much joy it's bringing our kids and how important for our hospital."

After making his rounds on his milestone visit, Riley was given a basket full of toys and treats to thank him for his time and service.


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