LOUISVILLE, Ky. — One employee at UofL Health walks on four legs instead of two. Meet "Roo," the trauma center's therapy dog.

What You Need To Know

  • Roo is a therapy dog at UofL Health

  • The box-lab mix makes her rounds five days a week

  • Dog mom Jenny Youngberg is a trauma social worker 

  • Roo eases minds and Youngberg connects patients with resources 

It’s one of the most stressful moments imaginable, being a trauma patient in a hospital, but at UofL Health a therapy dog named “Roo,” is known to make the rounds, comforting patients along the way.

Roo is a therapy dog and Jenny Youngberg is a trauma social worker (Spectrum News 1/Jonathon Gregg)

“A lot of these patients are severe burns victims, they are motorcycle crashes, motor vehicle accidents and gunshot wound victims," Roo's owner Jenny Youngberg said. “A lot of time people are very anxious when they come in. They experience a lot of natural reactions to trauma."

Roo is a Box-Lab mix, and her dog mom is a trauma social worker.

Youngberg and Roo work in tandem. Roo calms patients and helps them open up, and Youngberg will then begin talking about all the resources available to patients during their recovery process.

“So our role is not only to provide support to the patients and the families, we talk a lot about the resources that are available," she said.

Roo has only been on the job for less than a year. Creating her position was all Youngberg’s idea.

Roo's smile is infectious. (Spectrum News 1/Jonathon Gregg)

“When I first started here they actually interviewed me on my first day and asked kind of what a goal of mine would and I told them that I would love to have a facility dog," Younberg recalled.

It’s safe to say Roo is one of the most popular staff members at UofL Health, visiting and comforting patients across the campus. It's a full day of work and so breaks are mandatory.

"I try to give Roo a break throughout the day to take her outside and play some ball to run off some of that energy," Youngberg said.

And when it comes to her bedside manner, Youngberg said Roo is great at matching her patients’ energy.

“She is very calm but if we have a patient that is a little more excited she will kind of go up and interact with them a little bit more and get some tail wags in there and it’s real personal."

“Roo is a good dog" may just be the understatement of the year.