Healing Paws: Meet Waldo the Therapy Dog


One of our favorite ways to help patients and their loved ones is by offering them a visit from one of our beloved pet therapy dogs. Learn more about the healing power of our four-legged friends, like Waldo. 

The healing power of a visit from a furry friend is demonstrated through our Pet Therapy Program, which began in 1997. Our 14 registered and certified pet therapy dogs, like Waldo, visit patients at various Renown Health locations.

“I like to see the way people respond to Waldo and that’s what’s most important to me,” says Ed Ferrell, Jr., Renown pet therapy volunteer and Waldo’s owner. “I’m just Waldo’s person. He’s the one that is able to break the ice and talk to people and get them out of their not-good place. Or if they are happy, he makes it just a little bit better.”

Becoming a Therapy Dog Volunteer

Ferrell joined the pet therapy program after he retired and moved to Reno when his wife, Charlene, joined Renown. He describes Waldo, a 150 pound bull mastiff, as “very outgoing and gregarious.”


Ferrell and Waldo can be found visiting patients every Wednesday at Renown Regional Medical Center and Renown Children’s Hospital.

Ferrell says Waldo is attuned to the infants and smaller children. “Sometimes they will be in a room crying. It really distresses him. He really loves kids and he will go sit outside the room. If he hears them crying, he will just sit there at the door and cry a little bit with them,” Ferrell says.

Learn more about joining the pet therapy team and additional volunteer opportunities at Renown.org or call 775-982-4755.

Patients can request a pet therapy visit from their nurse if our pet therapy team isn’t already scheduled to visit a specific patient’s unit.


    • Hi Debbie, Great question! A patient or their loved ones can request a visit from the patient's nurse and we work to fulfill those requests within 24 hours. Additionally, our pet therapy teams are scheduled to visit certain parts of the hospital at certain times. Hope this information helps, Allie
  1. We have the world's best pet therapy dogs. We are so blessed to have them visit at Renown. Thanks moms and dads for sharing your wonderful dogs with us all!