MCMURRAY, Pa. (KDKA) — A local dentist’s office is helping patients relax and smile with the help of a therapy dog.

Smudge is a popular member of the staff at Steliotes Dental Spa in McMurray.

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“His overwhelming response to our patients has been great,” Dr. Ted Steliotes of Steliotes Dental Spa said. “He’s helped more children in calming them down for injections and a lot of adults. A lot more adults like to hold him for injections, but also have a dog at the office has been more of a gift to my patients than I ever thought.”

Smudge is trained to provide comfort and affection when that anxiety and uncertainty sets in.

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“I love dogs, so Smudge really calms me down,” patient Cynthia Truitt said.

Smudge makes his rounds with assurance and purpose.

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And that is why more and more health care facilities are making these pet professionals an essential part of their practice.