• Pediatrics Patient Stories

    Dr. Jack the Helping Dog

When thinking of ways to share what makes Mayo special, Matt Dacy (a Mayo employee) along with a handful of colleagues decided on a children’s book. They didn’t have to look far for inspiration. They looked to Dr. Jack, a very special member of the Mayo Clinic care team.

In mid-April, I had the opportunity to meet Dr. Jack when he came for an interview about the book. So, who is Dr. Jack? He is a nine-year-old miniature pinscher who is Mayo’s first, and only, facility-based service dog. Jack is truly an amazing dog. He is a very sweet, laid-back little guy who instantly draws people to him. After our meeting, I could easily see what made him special and why he was selected as the main character in the book, “Dr. Jack the Helping Dog”.

Dr. Jack is part of the Mayo Clinic health care team that helps patients with physical activity, rehabilitation and speech therapy. He also provides stress relief and brings a sense of comfort and normalcy, which a hospital setting can take away. Escorted around the hospital by his owner, Marcia Fritzmeier, Dr. Jack wears an official vest and sees about 8-10 patients a day. During his tenure at Mayo, Jack has helped more than 2,000 patients.

In the book, Dr. Jack wears an ID tag with the words “Mayo Clinic” and a picture of the three shields. When a young boy at Saint Marys Hospital meets Dr. Jack and rubs his tag, they are off on an amazing adventure to learn about Mayo Clinic, past and present. During their adventure, Dr. Jack and his young friend ride Mayo One and even get to see the Mayo Brothers, Dr. Will and Dr. Charlie.

In the following video, Matt, the author of the book, shares how the book came about.

In the video below, Bob, the book’s illustrator, talks about how he created the illustrations in the book:

In addition to the fictional story written by Matt, the book consists of several parts:

1. A welcome by John Noseworthy, M.D., president and CEO of Mayo Clinic

2. A foreword written by Barbara Bush, Mayo Clinic trustee, advocate of literacy and author of books about Millie the White House dog

3. Original illustrations created by Bob Morreale, head of Medical Illustration and Animation at Mayo Clinic

4. A biography of the real Dr. Jack written by Jenee Marchant

5. A medical essay on “The Healing Dimension of Pets” written by Edward Creagan, M.D., a Mayo Clinic Oncologist

The book is sold at Mayo-affiliated retail outlets on each campus (Arizona, Florida and Minnesota). All proceeds of the book support Mayo's programs in patient care, research and education. If you’d like to get a copy of the book, please contact the Mayo Clinic Stores (1-888-303-9354; mayoclinicstore@mayo.edu).

Barbara Sorensen is a communications consultant in the Department of Public Affairs, Mayo Clinic.

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