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This Dog Comforts Scared Kids At The Dentist

Now you have no reason to be afraid of the dentist.

Posted on April 3, 2016, at 5:39 p.m. ET

This is Lynne Ryan, a Chicago dental assistant, and JoJo, a 6-year-old golden retriever who serves as a comfort dog.

Lynne Ryan

Under the auspices of a Lutheran church group, JoJo splits her time between eight different handlers, including Ryan, in order to visit nursing homes and centers for people with disabilities.

In her time as a comfort dog, she's also been sent to assist after tornados in Missouri and Illinois, and was brought in to the Sandy Hook schools in Connecticut after the 2012 mass shooting.

As a comfort dog, she's trained to provide support and affection to people in times of distress, and even wears a special vest encouraging people to pet her.

"She's a very loving and sweet dog," Ryan told BuzzFeed News. "I sometimes call her the 'Queen of the Lean' because she'll just come up to someone and if she likes them she'll just lean on them, as if to say, 'Here I am. You can pet me now.'"

A year ago, Ryan had the idea of bringing JoJo into the clinic where she's worked for more than 21 years, Pediatric Dentistry of Northbrook, to help calm nervous kids.

Pediatric Dentistry of Northbrook / Via Facebook: kidsddsnbk

Now, once a month, JoJo comes in and sits with patients who request her. "In the past three months she's become a big hit," dental assistant Veronica Renteria told BuzzFeed News. "We now have people who call up and specifically request JoJo."

Pediatric Dentistry of Northbrook / Via Facebook: kidsddsnbk

"It's very tender," Renteria said. "She's just there waiting for you. If you sit down, she'll put her head on your lap. It's quite amazing how she knows you just need that hug."

Pediatric Dentistry of Northbrook / Via Facebook: kidsddsnbk

"Her paw is always available to hold," Ryan said. "One girl was having her teeth extracted and she just stroke JoJo's ears the whole time."

Pediatric Dentistry of Northbrook / Via Facebook: kidsddsnbk

Because of her calming effect on both patients and staff, JoJo is now a much-loved member of the clinic, both ladies said.

Pediatric Dentistry of Northbrook / Via Facebook: kidsddsnbk

She's even listed as an official staff member on the clinic's website!

So professional.

"I've just had such a positive reaction to having JoJo there," Ryan said. "The parents are like, 'Is this really happening?' They can't believe that JoJo just sits there and that their child is so still and calm through the procedure."

Pediatric Dentistry of Northbrook / Via Facebook: kidsddsnbk

h/t The Dodo

A BuzzFeed News investigation, in partnership with the International Consortium of Investigative Journalists, based on thousands of documents the government didn't want you to see.