Meet 'Nubby,' a therapy dog helping patients just like him

PHOENIX (FOX 10) --   Therapy dogs often visit hospitals to provide comfort to patients. One very special pup right here in the Valley is helping people just like him.

"The teams will visit our waiting rooms and surgery and there's a lot of anxiety and stress that's understandable and having that dog, they'll pet them you just see kind of that sense that people have exhaled and they'll just have this moment where they're not thinking about they're loved one or themselves or what they're going through," said Carly Ofsthun with volunteer services at Banner.

"Nubby," a 7-year-old long-haired Chihuahua, is a very busy guy. When he's not dressing up for his favorite holiday, riding around enjoying the beautiful Arizona weather or taking a dip in the pool, he's here at Cardon Children's Medical Center - Banner Health, visiting the patients.   

Nubby is no ordinary dog. He was born with just his back legs. A few years ago, he was abandoned in a parking lot in California. Deidre Grafel adopted him and the two have been living life to the fullest ever since.

"The reason I give him so many opportunities is because he has such an enthusiasm for life and everything," she said.

While at the hospital, Nubby goes from room to room. He gives snuggles, kisses and enjoys all the belly rubs he can get. He also gets to show off his wheels.

"They think he's cool. They're like oh, he's got his own wheels, yeah, he doesn't have arms, but that doesn't stop him. I'd like to see a transfer of that type of open-mindedness to kids in classrooms who may have a certain challenge,"  said Grafel.

Not only is Nubby providing comfort to the patients here in the hospital, he's also raising awareness for others like him.

"All the kids have embraced him, but would those kids embrace a student in their class who didn't have arms? Maybe this is a way to help desensitize kids to what's different," said Grafel.

Grafel has started this message in the hospital, but she's hoping to branch out to reach more people.

"Special needs animals are sort of just not in the picture when we think of marketing animal products, same for special needs people as well" she said. "Once we become immune to seeing and hearing and learning about special needs beings being people and pets, then we will be more accepting of them."

For now, Nubby will keep beating the odds -- keep showing people being different is okay, but most importantly, he'll keep giving back. It's just how he rolls.      

Nubby is one of 13 therapy dog teams at Banner. 

If you're interested in becoming a volunteer, go to bannerhealth.com/ways-to-give/volunteer for more information.

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