MIAMI (WSVN) - Therapy dogs are known for unleashing smiles when comforting people during times of tragedy. Now, South Florida is showing its appreciation to these four-legged friends.

On Dog Therapy Appreciation Day, it’s acknowledged that these furry friends play an important part in our community. Several dogs who are usually former pets or shelter dogs, go through a tough testing program before they’re certified to visit hospitals and nursing homes.

The dogs receive stringent training and than live a life of service.

“It’s a testament to these loyal companions who spend their days comforting our residents and our officers, and this mayor too, I must say,” said Miami-Dade County Mayor Daniella Levine Cava.

The elite group are K-9 officers who serve as goodwill ambassadors for the police.

“We have Sparky, Dottie and Amanda from MDPD Community Oriented Support Dog Program,” said Levine Cava.

“You have victim advocates, and now we have these furry friends as well,” said Miami-Dade Police Director Freddy Ramirez.

“Thank you for your dedicated service. Let’s give them a round of applause,” said Levine Cava.

Miami-Dade Animal Services is waving adoption fees for all dogs over 35 pounds. All qualifying pet adoptions will include the first set of vaccines and a microchip. If you are interested in finding a furry friend click here.

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