Two visitors at Frederick Memorial Hospital earlier this week looked a bit odd.

Although they were there to visit the nurses and staff at the hospital, as part of National Nurses Week and National Healthcare Week, they stood out from all the other visitors to walk through the lobby.

Juno and Ginger are dogs.

The two dogs are part of Wags for Hope, a Frederick organization that brings therapy dogs to hospitals, schools and nursing homes. While Juno and Ginger were there Tuesday for the nurses and staff, the two are familiar faces around the hospital, as they often visit patients.

Even when the dogs are there for the patients, “we regularly have staff sitting on the floor, petting the dogs,” said Laura Schwartz, co-president of Wags for Hope and Juno’s owner.

As Schwartz and Juno sat in the lobby with Ginger and her owner Sylvia Nye, staff, patients and visitors came up to pet the dogs. Juno is a dark gray Havanese, a type of dog native to Cuba. Ginger is a golden long-haired chihuahua.

“See the smile?” Schwartz asked as a person pet Ginger. “That’s what it does.”

Wags for Hope has 10 teams, each consisting of a handler and a dog. The dogs range in size from four pounds to larger ones, like German shepherds.

“We’ve got everything,” Schwartz said.

It is the fifth year the dogs have come for Nurses Week, Schwartz said. Every year, the nurses and staff look forward to spending time with the fluffy animals, said Dolly Sullivan, a nurse at Frederick Memorial Hospital and a handler with Wags for Hope.

Having the dogs come by gives nurses and staff a few minutes to recharge and relax, even if it is just looking at one of the dogs.

“It gives them that small moment of time to take a deep breath,” Sullivan said.

Follow Heather Mongilio on Twitter: @HMongilio

Heather Mongilio is the health and Fort Detrick reporter for the Frederick News-Post. She can be reached at hmongilio@newspost.com.

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