HUNTSVILLE, Ala. (WHNT) — Huntsville Hospital’s “Canines for Coping” program launched back in 2019 with two loveable golden retrievers – sister/brother duo Asteroid and Orbit. Now, a third pooch is joining the crew.

Thanks to generous community donations, the Huntsville Hospital Health System says the therapy dog program will be expanding with the addition of Shaggy, a gorgeous black Labradoodle.

(Courtesy: Huntsville Hospital Health System)

Shaggy and his handler, Angel Utt, will start meeting patients later this month, Huntsville Hospital says. Utt is a Licensed Master of Social Work and has almost 20 years of experience, most recently with The Caring House, providing grief support, education and resources to families and children.

Utt and Shaggy will mainly serve patients in hospice care, offering comfort and social support for chronic and seriously ill patients and their families.

Not only is Shaggy’s presence made possible by community donors, but those who work at Huntsville Hospital have also donated through the employee giving program, the Lifesaver Club. Another fundraiser to help with expenses for the Canines for Coping program will be the 2022 Huntsville Classic on May 7 at the new Orion amphitheater.

For more information on the Canines for Coping therapy program, visit Huntsville Hospital’s website here.

To purchase tickets or read more about the Huntsville Classic, click here.