TAMPA, Fla. - If you’re a Bolts fan, there’s no mistaking him. Dave Mishkin is the voice of the Tampa Bay Lightning Radio, but when he’s not behind the mic, the surprisingly soft-spoken broadcaster spends his time at Tampa General Hospital with his therapy dog, Stella.
Mishkin and his 3-year-old Bernese mountain dog makes the rounds at TGH a few times a week.
Stella got certified through the Alliance of Therapy Dogs in 2020 shortly after the start of the pandemic. Her and calm and friendly personality makes her perfect for the job.
"I’m not sure that she recognizes that this is a job per se, I kind of actually feel the same way about my job. I felt fortunate to find something that I love to do and be able to do it as a career," said Mishkin. "She really likes interacting with people and meeting people and being petted and given attention and she gets that here."
The nurses and hospital staff enjoy the attention too, and love giving Stella belly rubs.
"Everybody who is working here, who has a chance to interact with her has something going on. And if it improves their day and adds a little sunshine to a part of their day, then it's definitely worth it," said Mishkin.
Nurse manager Tania Pike said it’s a welcome break from the daily stressors of the job.
"I think nurses sometimes just kind of give everything," she explained, "and aren't very good about asking for help. So when people extend that arm to help them it really makes a difference in their day."