SIOUX FALLS, S.D. (KELO) — For many, being in the hospital means being away from your friends, your family and even your pets. But a local group of dedicated volunteers and their four-legged companions are working to fill that void.

Patients at Sanford Hospital see a lot of doctors and nurses. But today is different.

“They help people just by being there,” handler Beth Jernberg said.

Therapy dogs Denver and Kadey along with their owners Dianne Carver and Beth Jernberg are doing their rounds.

Karla Seaberg is at the hospital doing rehab.

“I survived a car accident so I was lucky about two weeks ago to live through a car accident,” Seaburg said.

She’s a self-proclaimed dog lover and loves the bonds shared between humans and their four-legged friends.

“I think it’s just a really neat partnership between a dog and a human… and where you don’t have all the things that come with humans sometimes and you just have a dog that’s there to accept,” Seaberg said.

Seaberg has three dogs of her own…

“An English Mastiff, a Boxer Bulldog and a Boxer,” Seaburg said.

But Seaburg has not been able to see them since the crash, so a visit from Denver is a welcome one.

Owner Dianne Carver has been a therapy dog handler for 9 months at Sanford. She says this three-year-old Golden Retriever loves his job.

“He’s very awesome. Puts on the scarf and he knows he’s going to work,” Dianne Carver, handler, said.

Denver has a comforting effect on many of the patients he sees.

“Most of them are very happy to see them, and even the ones who are really really sick, they will even mouth the words, thank you, as you’re leaving,” Carver says.

And Denver isn’t the only one who’s bringing smiles to patients’ faces.

Kadey is a Bernese Mountain Dog who loves it when anyone pets her.

“When she’s visiting she goes right up to the person, turns around, sits down at their feet, sometimes on their feet and says I’m ready to be petted,” owner Beth Jernberg said.

Jernberg has been a handler for 9 years and says therapy dogs bring a different kind of healing to patients.

“I think what therapy dogs do that is best is just offer.. themselves and whatever the patient needs from that whether it’s some hope or some relief from anxiety. Sometimes there are grief situations and it gives the people a chance to just visit with the dog,” Jernberg said.

Whether it’s a good day or a bad day, these dogs will try their best to make everyone smile.

“Pet therapy is one of our most exciting programs for patients because they get to cuddle with a very nice dog. The dogs can bring the patients comfort they can bring them companionship,” said Becca Conner, Manager of Volunteer Services at Sanford.

In addition to hospital visits, these therapy dogs also meet those who are in hospice, assisted living and the Sanford Children’s Hospital.