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Dogs deliver TLC to Winship cancer patients

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ATLANTA -

When you think of a cancer center, dogs probably aren't the first thing that comes to mind.  But at the Winship Cancer Institute at Emory University, dogs sometimes roam the halls visiting patients and families who need a little TLC.  

Their job is simply just hanging out.  The dogs who are part of the Happy Tails pet therapy crew are just happy to be in the oncology unit.  

"The thing about Happy Tails visits is the magic is in moments," said Nancy Sisson, who owns one of the dogs—Bijou—that is part of the group.  "And we never know what those moments are going to be."

And right out of the gate, it was clear Bijou was having a moment with Roger Daugherty.  That's a sweet break from Daugherty's new normal.  He spends five days a week at Winship, and has for two months straight.  He's undergoing radiation treatments for brain cancer.  

"And it's a tough road.  And to see him, and to meet him, was just like a wonderful gift," said Daugherty.  

Annie, who was rescued from a shelter, visited with Glenda Hodges from Madison, Ga., who recently learned the breast cancer she fought three years ago is back-- in her bones.  It was the first time she's seen dogs at Winship.

For an hour, the Happy Tails dogs visit with anyone who needs them-- even news reporters.

Roger says being sick has taught him to be grateful for life's little gifts, like a dog.

The dogs also spend time with chemotherapy patients.  Happy Tails visits Children's Healthcare of Atlanta, nursing homes and lots of other hospitals.  Most of the pets are dogs, but they also have cats and bunnies.

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