Golden therapy pup lifting spirits of those going through life’s biggest challenges

There’s a golden pup lifting the spirits of those who need it most.
Published: Jul. 12, 2021 at 2:32 PM CDT
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BATON ROUGE, La. (WAFB) - Furry friends can be more than a man’s best friend. They can also be therapy animals while patients get treatment in the hospital. There’s a golden pup lifting the spirits of those who need it most.

“Me and her just kind of looked at each other and neither one of us knew what to say or what to do,” said Jimmy Santangelo.

A lot has changed for Santangelo these last couple of months. He’s normally serving as a captain with the East Baton Rouge Parish Sheriff’s Office.

“We were at our grandson’s ball game and I had been feeling bad for quite a while. I told my wife, ‘I think it’s time to get checked into the emergency room,’” explained Santangelo.

Shortly after, he was diagnosed with acute lymphoblastic leukemia, which led to him going in and out of Baton Rouge General for chemotherapy treatments alongside his faithful supporter and wife, Mickey.

“It’s cancer,” said Mickey Santangelo. “You know, we’ve had some bad minutes trying to process everything.”

Mickey was bottling up her emotions, trying to wrap her head around what was happening.

That was until a golden miracle came - Frank Ewing and his 7-year-old therapy dog, Finn.

“I feel like he was sent to me at the exact moment I needed him,” said Mickey.

“We go to the ICU,” said Ewing. “We go to the ER, the burn unit, the NICU, everywhere.”

The friendly duo volunteers all over Baton Rouge and visits the Santangelos during Jimmy’s chemo treatments.

They bring a sigh of relief to not only staff but those experiencing some of life’s biggest challenges.

“When I just didn’t know how to deal with everything we were dealing with, that was kind of a turning point for me,” said Mickey.

Finn helps break the ice between Jimmy and Mickey, allowing them to talk about her husband’s diagnosis, all while not feeling too far from their furry friends waiting for them at home.

“I just feel blessed that I’m able to be a part of it,” added Ewing.

From now on, Mickey makes sure they’re on the top of Finn’s list of patients to visit, bringing company to those who need it most.

Jimmy is responding well to chemotherapy so far. He’ll be at BRG for more rounds of treatment and, of course, a visit from Finn.

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