Dogs with Fun Jobs: Remembering Fozzy

by Linda Goldfarb, Family House Board Member & Volunteer

Published on February 22, 2021

Dogs like to have something to do, whether it’s playing ball, doing tricks, even obeying commands. They love to please!

Fozzy

Raul with Fozzy, Therapy Dog at Family House San Francisco, circa 2011

In 2010, Family House had a visit from social therapy dog, Fozzy. Fozzy was a terrier retriever scruff of a dog who was a rescue from the Milo Foundation. She was adopted by one of the Family House volunteers who saw her penchant for people and especially children, and decided to consider having her trained as a social therapy dog. Fozzy received her “degree” through 4Paws Therapy Dogs and went on to earn her AKC Canine Good Citizen award. She would come to Family House, proudly wearing her 4Paws vest and would regale the children with her tricks – sit, talk, lay down, “wait” for a treat, shake, and many more. One of the teens at Family House, Raul Y., so looked forward to seeing Fozzy that he spent time researching training tips before her visits and even taught Fozzy to shake on command.

Santiago with therapy dog Fozzy who is covered in stuffed animals

Santiago plays with Fozzy, covered in stuffed animals, at Family House San Francisco, circa 2011-13

One of the many benefits of having a social therapy dog visit children who are undergoing medical treatment is the unconditional love and acceptance the dogs show. To a dog, it doesn’t matter if a child is in bed, in a wheelchair or in a mask–nothing is out of the ordinary for a therapy dog.

Not only do children and families benefit from petting these canine visitors, but the owner/volunteer meets the wonderful families and children at Family House. A dog somehow makes people open up and relax. It has been shown that just petting a dog brings down anxiety levels and even blood pressure.

Therapy Dog Fozzy and young boy Noah

Fozzy with Noah at Family House circa 2012

Many of the families at Family House have had to leave their pets at home in the care of a relative or friend, so having a furry friend to pet and hug is a wonderful benefit Family House can offer to our families.

Fozzy was one of the first therapy dogs to visit the children at Family House but she certainly wasn’t the last. Since Fozzy began at Family House, there have been dozens of therapy dogs that have come to visit. Before the COVID-19 pandemic, Family House welcomed two to three therapy dogs a week. Of course, COVID has put a ‘paws’ on visits, but the dogs are ready to return as soon as the pandemic subsides.


Family House Therapy Dog Fozzy poses on hind legs in green grassA handwritten note by a child staying at Family House San Francisco circa 2012 that reads "I love you Family House because you have Fozzy toy room."Fozzy’s impact was memorialized in 2017 when we named the Toy Room after the beloved pup that brought so much support to the children and families at Family House; the date also coincided with the one year birthday celebration of Family House’s new Mission Bay home. It’s in that same spirit of giving that helps keep our toy room stocked so that every child, undergoing treatment or as a sibling, feels supported, special, and loved. Thank you to our supporters who donate new toys so that every child can pick out a special toy from Fozzy’s Toy Room during their stay at Family House.

Read more about Fozzy’s Toy Room and a story published by the San Francisco Chronicle sharing Linda and Fozzy’s heartwarming story from 2011.