Mordy, a 5-year-old golden retriever, is a certified pet therapy dog at Kona Community Hospital.
Fridays with Mordy:
Dog aids sick
A 5-year-old golden retriever makes rounds every Friday at Kona Community Hospital, visiting patients, long-term care residents and employees.
"You can tell when Mordy is around," Chief Operating Officer Earl Greenia said in a hospital news release about its new member. "Peoples' faces light up and you hear laughter."
Mordy is a certified pet therapy dog owned by Ernie and Dr. Zee Knapp. He has been making patients feel better since 2004.
The Knapps were living in California at the time, and Ernie had leukemia. He was receiving outpatient treatment across the street from Children's Hospital in Orange County.
The hospital invited Mordy to a party one day, and that led to his training to become a pet therapy dog. He completed 50 hours in the Delta Society Pet Partners Program.
The Knapps moved to Kailua-Kona last May, and Mordy joined the 94-bed acute and long-term care Kona Community Hospital a few months later.
"The best thing about what we do is seeing patients and people who have had animals in their lives and have them forget why they're in the hospital," Knapp said. "It's a pleasure seeing people happy."
Mordy is a nickname for Mordechai, guardian of Queen Esther from the Book of Esther in the Old Testament, according to the hospital. "The name represents a strong and caring person. This is Mordy. He is a dog who loves people."
He participates in parades and events such as the IronMan Triathlon World Championship and also volunteers at the Kona Adult Day Care Center and Headstart.
He likes swimming in the ocean and playing with green sea turtles, the hospital reported.