A dynamic duo in Monroeville is making a big difference and making us proud to be from Pittsburgh.
Whether he's charming the nurses at UPMC East, or comforting patients at their bedside, Monty has been stealing hearts. Monty is an 8-year-old border collie mix who works as a therapy dog. As he works in the hospital, his soft-spoken, kind-hearted owner, Lenny Picone, is never far behind.
"The first person he gives therapy to is me," said Picone.
Picone said he first knew he wanted to give back after he had a few hospital stays himself, and experienced the joy of therapy dogs.
"People aren't usually having their best day when they're in the hospital. They're sad, they're lonely, they're tired, they're angry, they're whatever it is. To have that unconditional love from a dog is priceless," said Picone.
While Channel 11's cameras followed, Lenny and Monty went from room to room, spreading comfort to patients and caregivers.
But Picone isn't just a volunteer. He knows UPMC East well, because he's also a chef there.
"He offers something a little different. He's not just the dog handler, he's a part of us. He knows us, he knows our ups and downs," said Elaine Dodd, the operations manager at Hillman Cancer Center.
"It just gave me a smile today. I haven't smiled for a week," said Carol Thomas, a patient. "They don't care what you look like, or how you feel. Just somebody that they like."
Now Monty is asking for a little bit of help from his friends. He's part of a national contest: the "American Humane Hero Dog Awards". He's in the therapy dog division, and needs you to vote before April 25th to advance to the semi-finals.
"There's quite a few dogs, and all deserving I'm sure, but we're hoping that Monty can do us proud here in Pittsburgh," said Picone.
To vote for Monty, click here.
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