Occupational therapist Lisa Morgan, right, has facility dog Luna play tug-o-war with patient Kimberly Carmona. The game help Carmona work on balance and core strength.
A new employee at Mayo Clinic Health System has made quite the impression. Patients stop her in the hallway to greet her and roll down their windows when she walks by in the parking lot to offer a quick hello.
Her photo ID says Luna Morgan, but the golden haired canine is known simply as Luna to staff and patients, joining the Mayo team last month as a facility dog. The sweet-natured yellow Labrador has quickly won over staff and patients in numerous departments with her gentle bedside manner, sleepy-eyed visage and arsenal of commands.
Two-year-old Luna, raised through the California-based Canine Companions for Independence, is owned by Mayo occupational therapist Lisa Morgan, who has been involved with the organization since 1990, raising six puppies for their first 18 months of life before they entered CCI’s regional training service. The dogs are all bred specifically for the two-year program, but only 50 percent graduate. Those who do must undergo annual recertification, along with their handler.
Luna the facility dog's ID badge.
Morgan was matched with Luna in November after the pair underwent a final training session in Ohio, with Luna leaving with knowledge of 40 commands. CCI graduates come at no charge to the recipient, and Mayo was selected as one of two facilities to benefit from a sponsorship from PetSmart, the funds of which covered training and other costs.
Luna is the first facility dog in the entire Mayo Clinic enterprise, bringing a series of approvals and requirements, but the partnership, Morgan says, was meant to be.
“I consider Canine Companions the Mayo Clinic of service dogs,” Morgan said of the communal focus on rigorous research, education and care. “Both want the best outcome.”
Luna is categorized as a facility dog, trained and certified to assist with physical and occupational therapy, though she also boasts the benefits of a therapy dog. The amiable and well-mannered lab has delivered treats in a basket around the cancer care center, taken strolls with cardiac rehab patients and provided comfort to pediatric and ICU patients.
“She was lying in bed with a 9-year-old patient, and his dad said it was perfect timing because he missed his dog,” Morgan recalled. “Just when you think you have holistic care down, bring in a dog and it’s a whole new level. (Luna) adds a depth to our care we can’t otherwise provide, on a physical level or on an emotional level — it’s a sixth dimension of care.”
For physical therapy patient Kimberly Carmona, 52, Luna provides encouragement and incentive to work through exercises addressing her back pain. The proud owner of a bichon frise, Carmona was delighted for her first session with Luna on Wednesday afternoon, greeting the eager canine with a pat on the head and smiling widely as they rolled a ball back and forth, Luna nudging it with her nose. The exercise, designed to help Carmona with mobility through bending at the waist, was one of three she and Luna partnered for, moving on to a rotation, with Carmona passing Luna a cone at her right and twisting to collect it from the dog on her left.
“Kim is hesitant to use motion since it hurts,” said physical therapist Julie Olson, who has worked with Carmona for the past month. “The dog is something she enjoys, so pairing that with things that are difficult makes it less (stressful) for her. Dogs calm down the nervous system ... it’s another tool we can use with chronic pain patients.”
During her third exercise, Carmona sat on a stability ball, grasping a rubber loop while Luna tugged at the other end. The game engages the core and promotes balance, and Carmona was having a blast, joking, “(Luna’s) more fun than Julie!”
The “furry little bundle of joy” has brought great energy to Mayo, Morgan said, likening her to a “gathering place” where people engage in conversation about their dogs and their days while lavishing Luna with belly rubs and behind-the-ear scratches. In the evenings, Luna heads home with Morgan to snuggle with her kids, trail after the household cats and watch Packer games.
Luna will likely be a Mayo dog for life, as Morgan and the hospital continue to find ways to integrate Luna and her capabilities into various departments and programs, refining her existing skills and introducing new ones.
“The response has been incredible so far,” Morgan said. “I anticipate her involvement to grow.”
Sometimes it’s not enough to want a dog. You may have the funds to buy one, know a pet sitter at the ready, have no qualms with waking up at 6 A.M. to walk it, or have enough toys and doggy beds to outfit an entire home. Often, it’s a lack of space that makes wannabe dog owners feel hesitant to adopt. This is a real challenge—many dogs require open spaces to run around and play, like a backyard or even a large living room. And if they bark, you don’t want your neighbors coming over to complain. Apartment owners in big cities or people in smaller homes don’t necessarily have these luxuries. Luckily, there are a good amount of dog breeds who are perfectly suited for an in-home lifestyle.
Stacker combed through the American Kennel Club’s directory of over 190 registered breeds, analyzing the list based on the following criteria to identify breeds that make for the best homebodies:
—Removed all breeds classified as “very active”
—Removed breeds classified as having “frequent shedding” or “lots of shedding” while including breeds that only need occasional grooming
—Chose breeds that classified as "quiet" or "barks when necessary"
—Chose breeds that are 25 inches or less when fully grown
Whether you live in the city or the suburbs, the resulting list includes 43 dog breeds ranked by 2017 popularity that will likely be quite comfortable with a relaxed, in-home lifestyle.
#43. Cesky terrier
Full grown height: 10-13 inches Full grown weight: 14-24 pounds Traits: Tenacious, Trainable
Though somewhat active, the ceskies (derived from the word “Czech”) are playful, curious little dogs who are more easily trained than your average terrier.
#42. Dandie Dinmont terrier
Full grown height: 8-11 inches Full grown weight: 18-24 pounds Traits: Independent, Proud, Smart, Affectionate, Bold, Tenacious
These pups may be on the smaller side, but they act like big dogs—not in that they’re dominant or aggressive, but that they are proud and confident. At home, they’re affectionate and only require a few good walks to stay satisfied.
#41. Finnish lapphund
Full grown height: 18-21 inches (male), 16-19 inches (female) Full grown weight: 33-53 pounds Traits: Reserved, Calm, Friendly, Courageous
These agile Nordic dogs are not particularly outgoing around strangers, but are nonetheless friendly and eager to please at home.
#40. Skye terrier
Full grown height: 10 inches (male), 9.5 inches (female) Full grown weight: 35-45 pounds (male), slightly less for females Traits: Dignified, Calm, Stubborn, Loyal, Devoted
The famously loyal and calm Skye terriers are lovely couch companions who are not particularly active, but do benefit from a long, leisurely walk.
#39. Sussex Spaniel
Full grown height: 13-15 inches Full grown weight: 35-45 pounds Traits: Friendly
Though not particularly tall, Sussex spaniels are strong, low-built dogs that are cheerful (in the classic spaniel way), but not as active as others in the breed group. Walking around a bit is enough to keep a Sussex happy.
#38. Glen Of Imaal terrier
Full grown height: 12-14 inches Full grown weight: 32-40 pounds Traits: Bold, Spirited
These scruffy, cute terriers aren’t pretentious or fancy-looking—their history as working farm dogs lends them a curious, exploratory nature that is not too excitable but refreshingly spirited.
#37. Sealyham terrier
Full grown height: 10.5 inches Full grown weight: 23-24 pounds (male), slightly less for females Traits: Alert, Outgoing, Tempered
The Sealyham terrier is what the AKC describes as a “substantial small dog” with the build of an NFL running back (“powerful, built low to the ground”), but still is a tempered, dolice pet to keep at home.
Full grown height: 9-11.5 inches Full grown weight: 7-10 pounds Traits: Loyal, Curious, Fearless
These funny-looking “ape terriers,” as some have called them, are confident, curious and playful. Their notoriously silly nature will keep you smiling around the house.
#35. Field spaniel
Full grown height: 18 inches (male), 17 inches (female) Full grown weight: 35-50 pounds Traits: Sweet, Fun, Loving, Smart
Somewhat larger than your average cocker spaniel, the field spaniel stands about 17-18 inches at the shoulder. They’re known for being smart, mild-tempered companions who love to please their humans.
#34. Xoloitzcuintli (toy, mini, standard)
Full grown height: 8-14 inches (toy), 14-23 inches (miniature), 18-23 inches (standard) Full grown weight: 10-15 pounds (toy), 15-30 pounds (miniature), 30-55 pounds (standard) Traits: Loyal, Alert, Calm, Trainable, Watchdog
One of the oldest breeds, Xoloitzcuintli dogs were historically thought to ward off evil spirits and intruders at home. Today, they make great watchdogs; they’re alert but stay calm as they protect their domains.
#33. Clumber spaniel
Full grown height: 18-20 inches (male), 17-19 inches (female) Full grown weight: 70-85 pounds (male), 55-70 pounds (female) Traits: Mellow, Dignified
These stocky, small-yet-heavy dogs are mellow and proud, but have their silly moments. Clumbers are great indoors, but also love a good long walk, and in many cases, even a swim.
#32. Manchester terrier (standard, toy)
Full grown height: 15-16 inches (standard), 10-12 inches (toy) Full grown weight: 12-22 pounds (standard), under 12 pounds (toy) Traits: Spirited, Bright, Loyal, Independent
Manchester terriers (toy or standard) are fiercely loyal and smart, and though they are fine hanging out indoors, their athleticism will really shine when taken outside. They’re fast, and can really get going and enjoy themselves when they are given room to run.
#31. English toy spaniel
Full grown height: 9-10 inches Full grown weight: 8-14 pounds Traits: Affectionate, Alert
This snub-nosed pup with its famous silky coat is curious and well-behaved, almost never barks, and is a happy presence around the house.
#30. Kerry Blue terrier
Full grown height: 18-19.5 inches (male), 17.5-19 inches (female) Full grown weight: 33-40 pounds (male), slightly less for females Traits: Smart, Alert, Oriented
Naturally inclined to explore, the Kerry blue terrier is vivacious, smart and lively. They love to romp around the house, and are allergy-friendly because they shed very rarely.
#29. American hairless terrier
Full grown height: 12-16 inches Full grown weight: 12-16 pounds Traits: Inquisitive, Playful
Those allergic to dogs love the American hairless terrier, whose lack of coat and affectionate nature make it a wonderful, mess-free companion. They’re good watchdogs, but also get along with other pets—cats included!
#28. Welsh terrier
Full grown height: 15 inches (male), proportionally smaller (female) Full grown weight: 20 pounds, proportionally smaller (female) Traits: Alert, Spirited
A bit larger than your average terrier (but smaller than the Airedale), Welsh terriers are calmer than many in the terrier family but still have an upbeat personality. They’re great with children and can interact with other dogs under moderate supervision.
#27. Japanese chin
Full grown height: 8-11 inches Full grown weight: 7-11 pounds Traits: Charming, Loving, Reserved
This intelligent breed lives for its companions, but like a true aristocrat, is reserved until it gets to know you. Japanese Chins are almost cat-like with their loving yet coy personalities.
#26. Brussels griffon
Full grown height: 7-10 inches Full grown weight: 8-10 pounds Traits: Alert, Curious, Loyal
Much like a terrier, the smart Brussels Griffon is a happy pup that can be an obedient, trainable watchdog for your home. This breed is also known for its almost human-like expressions.
#25. Norwegian elkhound
Full grown height: 20.5 inches (male), 19.5 inches (female) Full grown weight: 55 pounds (male), 48 pounds (female) Traits: Confident, Dignified, Friendly
The Norwegian elkhound is has hunting in its DNA, so while these dependable dogs are happy to keep you company at home, they thrive on a bit of exercise when taken outside. These dogs are also known to carry themselves in a dignified manner, but are friendly nonetheless.
Full grown height: 6-9 inches Full grown weight: up to 14 pounds Traits: Affectionate, Loyal
Historically owned by Chinese royalty (the name “Pekingese” derived from “Peking,” or the ancient name of Beijing), Pekingese conduct themselves in a regal manner, but are happy to be around their owners. They’re not very active, so they’re okay to go on a few walks and play indoors.
Full grown height: 18 inches (male), 17 inches (female) Full grown weight: 35-45 pounds Traits: Outgoing, Lively, Friendly
Sharing similar traits to other Northern breeds, the Keeshond is a fuzzy, sturdy companion who is welcoming to anyone it meets, and even enjoys making new friends.
#22. Staffordshire Bull Terrier
Full grown height: 14-16 inches Full grown weight: 28-38 pounds (male), 24-34 pounds (female) Traits: Brave, Tenacious, Stubborn, Gentle, Playful, Clever
These dogs are not particularly tall, but back a whole lot of muscle into a small package. Staffies can be stubborn but are playful and intelligent. Although they enjoy their time inside, they need to be able to run around and get exercise when it’s time for a walk.
#21. Coton De Tulear
Full grown height: 10-11 inches (male), 9-10 inches (female) Full grown weight: 9-15 pounds (male), 8-13 pounds (female) Traits: Bright, Happy, Charming, Loved
These French dogs live for giving and receiving affection from their owners, and will be happy simply following you around your home.
#20. Chinese Crested
Full grown height: 11-13 inches Full grown weight: 8-12 pounds Traits: Lively, Alert, Affectionate
Chinese crested are people pleasers who are almost cat-like in their homebody tendencies. If not curled up on an armrest or chair, they get their exercise following their owners around the apartment.
#19. Lhasa Apso
Full grown height: 10-11 inches (male), slightly smaller for females Full grown weight: 12-18 pounds Traits: Smart, Confident, Aloof
Known for its long, luscious coat, the Lhasa Apso has a balanced temperament that mixes humor and aloofness. Usually this breed is fun-loving around the house, but more careful around strangers.
#18. Chow Chow
Full grown height: 17-20 inches Full grown weight: 45-70 pounds Traits: Dignified, Bright, Aloof
These little lions have a mostly serious demeanor, but are bright, loving, and not very active. They’re not big barkers and are just fine living in small spaces.
#17. Italian Greyhound
Full grown height: 13-15 inches Full grown weight: 7-14 pounds Traits: Alert, Playful, Affectionate
Not as tall as their racetrack relatives, Italian greyhounds are good companions who easily adapt to city life. They are dainty and affectionate.
#16. Chinese Shar-Pei
Full grown height: 18-20 inches Full grown weight: 45-60 pounds Traits: Devoted, Loved
The Chinese Shar-Pei doesn’t need a busy lifestyle—this breed is content with a walk and a good belly scratch. Shar-Peis are very devoted to their owners, but take on a dignified and aloof air when around new people.
Full grown height: 19-22 inches (male), 18-21 inches (female) Full grown weight: 25-40 pounds Traits: Calm, Affectionate, Playful
Many would think that the whippet wouldn’t be suited for a stay-at-home lifestyle, as it can sprint up to 35 miles per hour—the fastest domesticated animal of its height. But after a good walk or energy-filled moment outside, this pup is quiet and lazy when it gets back home.
#14. Scottish Terrier
Full grown height: 10 inches Full grown weight: 19-22 pounds (male), 18-21 pounds (female) Traits: Independent, Confident, Shy, Spirited, Dignified
Scotties are a dignified, confident breed who aren’t shy and love to explore. They are very loyal and spirited, however, and are great with children.
#13. Soft Coated Wheaten Terrier
Full grown height: 18-19 inches (male), 17-18 inches (female) Full grown weight: 35-40 pounds (male), 30-35 pounds (female) Traits: Happy, Friendly, Devoted, Stubborn
Unlike other wiry terriers, the soft-coated Wheaten terriers are known for their silky fur. They are joyful and friendly, and love being around families—although they’re stubborn as well, like many terriers. They exhibit a special jumping habit when they’re especially happy (“the Wheaten greeting”).
#12. Basset hound
Full grown height: 12-15 inches (male), 11-14 inches (female) Full grown weight: 40-65 pounds Traits: Patient, Stubborn, Charming
Above all else, basset hounds are patient—around children and strangers alike. They are stubborn but charming, easy to train, and somewhat low-energy.
#11. Border Collie
Full grown height: 19-22 inches (male), 18-21 inches (female) Full grown weight: 30-45 pounds (male), 27-42 pounds (female) Traits: Smart
These herding dogs are agile and athletic, with an intelligence that, when put all together, creates a highly trainable pet.
Full grown height: 8-10 inches Full grown weight: 6-8 pounds Traits: Gentle, Playful, Affectionate, Fearless, Charming
These toy dogs are charming and elegant—and have been for over three millennia. They’re classic lap dogs, but still like to play outside when on a walk.
Full grown height: 6-9 inches Full grown weight: 3-6 pounds Traits: Charming
Chihuahuas are known apartment-friendly dogs who like to play at home and revel in their territory. They are smart, so they don’t need to be trained for very long, and their signature petite size means they don’t demand a lot of space.
Full grown height: 10-13 inches Full grown weight: 14-18 pounds Traits: Tempered, Charming, Loving
Pugs make great companions, as they are even-tempered and loving. They’re not extremely athletic, but still like long walks where they get to feed their natural curiosity.
Full grown height: 8.5-11.5 inches Full grown weight: 7-13 pounds Traits: Outgoing, Intelligent
The happy Havanese don’t require much exercise, and love hanging around the house entertaining their owners. Their soft coats are either left short to keep from having to deal with frequent grooming, or corded in a similar way to the Puli.
Full grown height: 6-7 inches Full grown weight: 3-7 pounds Traits: Lively, Bold, Inquisitive
These little extroverts are definitely playful, but their love of attention means the lapdog lifestyle suits them well. Many Pomeranians are trained to be competitive show dogs.
#5. Boston terrier
Full grown height: 15-17 inches Full grown weight: 10-25 pounds Traits: Friendly, Bright
The tuxedo-wearing Boston terriers are charming and adapt to most environments—especially apartments and in-home living. They are kind-natured and sharp.
#4. Shih Tzu
Full grown height: 8-11 inches Full grown weight: 9-16 pounds Traits: Outgoing, Affectionate, Playful, Charming
Shih Tzus may be small, but their famously silky coats attract big attention. They are the consummate house pet, as they are outgoing and friendly but love nothing more to relax in a chair.
#3. Cavalier King Charles spaniel
Full grown height: 12-13 inches Full grown weight: 13-18 pounds Traits: Affectionate, Gentle
The trainable, affectionate Cavalier is a favorite among UK families, as they are good with children and other pets. They enjoy a good walk but don’t need much exercise beyond that.
Full grown height: 14-15 inches Full grown weight: 50 pounds (male), 40 pounds (female) Traits: Calm, Courageous, Friendly, Dignified
Though bulldogs are bigger and stockier than conventional lap dogs, they aspire to be curled up with you nonetheless. They’re therefore a popular breed among those looking for an indoor pet, as they require little exercise, are low-maintenance, and carry a gentle disposition.
#1. French bulldog
Full grown height: 11-13 inches Full grown weight: 20-28 pounds (male), 16-24 pounds (female) Traits: Playful, Smart
These fun-loving dogs are not very athletic, so a short walk will keep them healthy and happy. Frenchies are low-maintenance and loyal. Some are a bit stubborn during training but eventually just want to please their owners.
Emily Pyrek can be reached at