Pups with Purpose


Since Bella has been a puppy, she has been training for a very specific purpose – to help heal the wounded and bring joy to the sick. She learned to be around large groups of people, be exposed to loud noises and sudden movements, and became an internationally certified therapy dog, all by the time she was one year old.

Now age 4, Bella is a social dog, very comfortable being around patients and their families. She takes patients for walks and helps them learn to regain balance. They talk to her and about her for cognitive therapy. Some patients who have pets at home relearn pet care, so they walk, feed and brush her. And patients in wheelchairs pet her as they get used to moving their arms and hands again, although sometimes this admittedly puts her right to sleep!

Bella is one of the two dogs that spend time in the Recreation Therapy Room at Dodd Hall – bringing smiles to patients and their families. Her owner, Morgan Mersey, is a Certified Therapeutic Recreational Specialist in Rehabilitation at The Ohio State University Wexner Medical Center.

Morgan and Bella take a walk.

Does your pet help you live healthier? Do you go on walks together? Do they reduce your stress? Tell us your story.


3 responses to “Pups with Purpose

  1. Vanessa Mercer Ryder

    Not only does she help the patients, she made my sons day when we would go visit daddy!!! Thanks Bella!

  2. Great dog, great person-Morgan, great facility

  3. I spent 6 weeks at Dodd Hall last year – between the therapy dogs and their willingness to let my own dog visit me when I was ill, the staff at Dodd let my affinity for animals be a guiding force in giving me the focus and morale to make it through a tough program of rehabilitation. The therapists at Dodd are top notch, often letting patients direct their own care – I was worried about not being able to recover enough to be able to regain my ability to cook, photograph, and type, and they designed therapy around these interests.

    Thanks for giving them the recognition they richly deserve. I don’t think many people are aware of what a world-class therapy program Columbus has in its own backyard.