There's no doubt that the doctors, nurses and administrative staff at the Hospital of the University of Pennsylvania have a demanding, stressful job.

When it's time for these medical professionals to blow off some steam, they get a little help from some adorable four-legged friends.


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"Multiple studies show that dogs and cats are actually extremely therapeutic," ER nurse Heather Matthew said. "We have a program for patients, and I thought that the staff needed a break in their day, too."

Matthew introduced a "Pet the Pooch" program in June 2013 after realizing how much her dog, Annabelle, helped her de-stress after a long day at work.

Now, for two hours every month, hospital workers can put down their charts and stethoscopes and pick up puppies and kittens instead.

"Pet the Pooch" is the only program of its kind in the U.S. and isn't just beneficial for the hospital staff. It can be life-changing for the dogs and cats, too, as they can be adopted through the Pennsylvania SPCA, which almost all are.

Whether they end up bringing a furry friend home or not, it's clear that "Pet the Pooch" time is well-deserved medicine for hard-working medical professionals.

Watch more above and check out must-see photos from the Penn Medicine Facebook page below.


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Check out more photos of the "Pet the Pooch" program at the Penn Medicine Facebook page.


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