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Goldendoodle volunteer escorts cardiac patients to procedures at Banner Heart

"Dr. Carl" and his handler Gail Moore volunteer at Banner Heart Hospital & Banner Baywood Medical Center

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MESA (April 23, 2024) - Banner Health loves its volunteers – including the four-legged kind. During the month of April, we continue to recognize exceptional volunteers in honor of National Volunteer Appreciation Month. Also during the month, April 21 to April 27, is National Volunteer Appreciation Week - a time when we can recognize and celebrate those who contribute their time and energy to give back to others.

Carl the Goldendoodle is 75 pounds of love and sheer enjoyment. When he is at home, the 8-year-old canine is a loyal family pet, big in stature with mounds of beautiful, bronze-colored tendrils that make everyone want to cuddle up with him.

When he’s at Banner Baywood Medical Center and Banner Heart Hospital, he becomes “Dr. Carl,” making the rounds at the hospitals as a dog therapy volunteer to help patients overcome their fears and anxiety. No matter what kind of day they may be having, patients show their appreciation for Carl, whether it be a scratch on the head or a pet on the back.

His handler Gail Moore said, “Carl just transcends. He loves everybody. He is just open to everyone.”

Recently, the volunteer services program at Banner Heart Hospital decided to use Carl as an official escort for patients once they are checked in for their surgical procedure. Carl and Moore meet patients in the main lobby, escort them to the third floor waiting area and sit with them to answer questions they may have. Carl’s presence right before their surgical procedure is meant to help ease their fears and anxiety. Once patients are called back to get ready for a procedure, Carl and Moore may even go back and visit them one more time in the prep area before they are wheeled over to the operating room.

“It feels calming to them (the patients),” said Moore. “I do get a lot out of it by helping them. Our intention is to help put them at ease.”

Banner has been using dog therapy volunteers for a number of years in hospitals. Research has shown dog therapy helps patients with their health and provides a more positive experience while they’re hospitalized.

“We’re so honored that Carl and (Moore) are a part of our dog therapy program, said Jenna Davis, associate director of volunteer services at Banner Baywood Medical Center and Banner Heart Hospital. “We hope that by visiting and escorting patients to their procedures, both Carl and (Moore) can help ease their worries and any anxiety they may have, so that the patient has a more positive outcome and experience.”    

To learn more about volunteering at Banner Health, go to

Banner Health is one of the largest, secular nonprofit health care systems in the country. In addition to 33 hospitals, Banner also operates an academic medicine division, Banner – University Medicine, and Banner MD Anderson Cancer Center, a partnership with one of the world’s leading cancer programs, MD Anderson Cancer Center. Banner’s array of services includes a health insurance division, employed physician groups, outpatient surgery centers, urgent care locations, home care and hospice services, retail pharmacies, stand-alone imaging centers, physical therapy and rehabilitation, behavioral health services, a research division and a nursing registry. To make health care easier, 100% of Banner-employed doctors are available for virtual visits and patients may also reserve spots at Banner Urgent Care locations and can book appointments online with many Banner-employed doctors. Headquartered in Arizona, Banner Health also has locations in California, Colorado, Nebraska, Nevada and Wyoming. For more information, visit 

Banner Baywood Medical Center Banner Health Banner Heart Hospital

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