Meet the Greek Stray Helping the Sick as a Therapy Dog (photos)

Meet Candy, the former Greek stray with a big heart who has a new career as a therapy dog.

Candy had been wandering the streets of Pyrgos in Greece’s Peloponnese when in 2016 she was discovered and adopted by a Swiss nurse.

The nurse, known only by her first name, Silvie, took Candy back home to Geneva where she was trained to become a therapy dog, trained to provide affection and comfort to people in need.

Candy is now visiting hospitals, retirement homes and mental-health institutions in the greater Geneva region.

The systematic use of therapy dogs is attributed to American nurse Elaine Smith who noticed patients positively responding to visits by a chaplain and his Golden Retriever. In 1976, Smith started a program for training dogs to visit institutions.

Research shows therapy dogs are healing companions for people with health conditions such as cancer, post-traumatic stress syndrome and dementia.

There are over 50,000 therapy dogs in the United States, and they’re becoming more popular in countries from Norway to Brazil.

Trained and certified by a variety of organizations, these dogs and their handlers go into hospitals and other facilities and interact with patients.