WHEELING, W.VA. (WTRF)- Meet Mocha, Wheeling Hospital’s new emotional support puppy. 

She comes to work daily with her caregiver, Cara Gazdik, Clinical Director of Nursing at the hospital.  

“Anyone who comes up to her, she will sit for them and let them love up on her and that’s an important trait for an emotional support dog,”  said Gazdik.

Cara fosters for a rescue called, The Road home Animal Project out of St. Clairsville. It was through here she realized the hospital could benefit from having an emotional support dog. Which is why Cara teamed up with the rescue to do just that.  

“She was rescued actually from a cardboard box, alongside a trailer, so she had a lot of puppy needs, she had a lot of animal needs and all of those were met by the rescue.”  

She then started training with Mark Garbera, a dog trainer out of Moundsville. He made a specific dog-training program just for Mocha

“There’s certain things Mocha needs. She needs to be able to sit. She needs to be able to approach people, even if they have masks on, if they have hats, if they have scary gear on, wheelchairs, walkers, IV poles, so all of those things she’s been accustomed and socialized to.” 

Mocha has only been around for a short amount of time but those at Wheeling Hospital seem to enjoy her presence.  

“Employees will cry, employees will laugh and when employees are having a bad day, they’ll call me and ask me to bring her up, managers ask me to bring her when there’s a particularly stressful time, which there’s a lot of that lately.” 

Cara says having Mocha at the hospital has helped those within the building cope during this difficult time.