Meet Our Facility Dogs

Our eight facility dogs and their handlers can be found helping patients in the Marcus-Woodruff building and other Shepherd facilities improve their physical, cognitive, functional, and social skills.


Facility dog, Barboza, sits with his handler, Mary Ashlyn Thiede.

  • Location: Shepherd Pathways
  • Birthday: 7/18/2012
  • Employed at Shepherd Center since 2014
  • Handler: Mary Ashlyn Thiede
  • Instagram: captainbarboza
  • Nicknames: B
  • Fun Facts about B: He loves swimming, and his favorite toy is the Jolly Egg. He is well known for having an extensive selection of Jazzy J collars and bowties.

Beta V

Facility dog, Beta, sits with his handler, Renee Slank

Colin VII

Facility dog, Colin, sits with his handler, Ashley Kim.

  • Location: Spinal Cord Injury Day Program
  • Birthday: 7/20/2017
  • Employed at Shepherd Center since 2019
  • Handler: Ashley Kim
  • Instagram: colinchronicles
  • Nicknames: Coli, Col Col
  • Fun Facts about Colin: He loves to swim and play fetch, but is very picky about which ball he likes each day. Colin’s favorite activity is playing tug with patients.


Facility dog, Derek, sits with his handler, Shanna Thorpe.

  • Location: Shepherd Foundation
  • Birthday: 5/2/2017
  • Employed at Shepherd Center since 2019
  • Handler: Shanna Thorpe
  • Instagram: mcdreamythedog
  • Nicknames: D Money, D
  • Fun Facts about D Money: He loves to lie flat on his back and show off his belly. He’s also an expert at the head tilt.


Facility dog, Errol, sits with his handler, Christine Hampton.

  • Location: Multiple Sclerosis Institute
  • Birthday: 3/1/2018
  • Employed at Shepherd Center since 2020
  • Handler: Christine Hampton
  • Instagram: dontMSwitherrol
  • Nicknames: Ariel, E
  • Fun Facts about Errol: He is full of energy and is always up for a game of fetch. He is a 60 lb lap dog who loves to make new friends.

Lanza II

Facility dog, Lanza, sits with his handler, Julie Shepherd.

  • Location: Shepherd FoundationSpinal Cord Injury Day Program, and Intensive Care Unit
  • Birthday: 05/26/2017
  • Employed at Shepherd Center since 2019
  • Handler: Julie Shepherd
  • Instagram: Livinlavidalanza
  • Nicknames: Lanzito Burrito, Lanz, Zito, Wiggle butt
  • Fun Facts about Lanza: He loves to help carry items like papers, gift bags, and light weights. Lanza is a big snuggle bug; he loves cuddling with the patients on the mat or in their beds.

Poet III

Facility dog, Poet III, sits with his handler Derrick Gates.

  • Location: Shepherd Pathways
  • Birthday: 5/28/2021
  • Employed at Shepherd Center since 2023
  • Handler: Detrick Gates
  • Instagram: poetryatpathways
  • Nicknames: Po, Shakespeare
  • Favorite toy: West Paw
  • Fun Facts about Poet: He is the first black lab working as a Shepherd Facility Dog. The 10th dog at Shepherd Center, but the 7th active working dog (three are retired)

Vertex II (Tex)

Facility dog, Tex, sits with his handler, Jennifer Speer.

  • Location: Acquired Brain Injury Inpatient Unit
  • Birthday: 8/23/2020
  • Employed at Shepherd Center since 2022
  • Handler: Jennifer Speer
  • Instagram: tex_nthecity
  • Nicknames: Tex, Big Tex
  • Fun Facts about Tex: He is the newest member of the Shepherd Facility Dog Family.

Honoring Former Shepherd Facility Dogs


Facility dog, Bentley, sits with his handler, Beth Sasso-Lance.


Facility dog, Frosty, sits with his handler, Rebecca McWalters.


Facility dog, Galion, sits with his handler, Jennifer Speer.