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Henry the Therapy Dog

“A truly great dog makes us better humans.” As Steve Booth, Henry the Therapy Dog’s handler, so accurately articulates, there’s something inherently special about the selfless, devoted nature of man (and woman’s) best friend.  

Henry the Therapy Dog, a traveling canine companion who has responded to over 700 events across California, Nevada, Arizona, and Texas since 2015, is certainly no exception to this belief. 

Beyond his undeniable adorability, the 8-year-old Golden Retriever has touched the lives of children and adults alike in their most vulnerable moments. Henry is a certified Therapy Dog with Pet Partners (2015), certified Crisis Response dog with HOPE AACR (2016), and Trauma/Peer Support dog with the Orange County Sheriff’s Department (2017). 

Henry’s story as a therapy dog began when Steve happened to be at a cardiac rehabilitation facility on the day a group of therapy dogs also made a visit. 

Steve recalls the instantaneous impact the dogs’ visit had on the patients and staff, visibly lifting the spirits of everyone they came across.  

Steve knew then that Henry’s compassionate nature would be a perfect match for comforting those in need, and that he needed to share his loving spirit with as many people as possible. 

Henry and Steve promptly began training for duty. “Therapy dogs support a person's mental health by providing attention and comfort,” says Steve. “Their sweet demeanor and unconditional love have a therapeutic benefit to those who face difficult health, or emotional challenges. Certified therapy dogs are widely used to offer calmness, affection, and comfort to people in need.”

Henry and Steve’s first official mission was visiting children undergoing chemotherapy treatments at the Kaiser Pediatrics Oncology Unit in Anaheim, California. Other hospital work has included visits to St. Joseph Hospital and UCI Hospital. 

The dynamic duo has responded to the scene of numerous traumatic events and natural disasters, including floods, fires, mudslides, and earthquakes. 

Henry has comforted victims and first responders of events like the Las Vegas shooting, the Yorba Linda plane crash, the OCC Memorial following a helicopter crash, fatal car accidents, and school deaths. 

In 2017, FEMA flew Henry and Steve to Texas to help overtaxed FEMA workers deal with the aftereffects of Hurricane Harvey.

The heartfelt feedback they receive is reassurance they’re fulfilling their calling.  The most common responses Henry hears are sentiments such as, “You just made my day,” and “I really needed you today.”

Wherever life’s unpredictability and fragile nature takes them, it’s safe to say that both Steve and Henry feel equally grateful for the people they meet—and each other. 

As his trading card aptly proclaims, “A dog is the only thing on earth that loves you more than he loves himself,” to which Henry is undoubtedly a living testament.