Fredrika is not an average beagle.

For one thing, she has her name and picture on an office door at Penobscot Bay Medical Center. For another, she has a resume and a job.

The little brown and white dog greets all who enter the Cancer Care Center at the hospital. Some of the patients have gotten to know her and they bring treats and ask after her when she’s gone on vacation. Her title is listed as “pet therapist.”

“I know what she does for me,” said Dr. Karen Backman, medical director of the Cancer Care Center. “She calms me down and cheers me up. A lot of the patients are dog lovers and dog owners. I’m convinced she helps.”

Not much is known about the first 10 months of Fredrika’s life. She was about 10 months old when she was found on the streets of Waterville and brought into the city’s animal shelter in October 1997. Backman adopted Fredrika from that shelter a month later.

Backman said she had always wanted a dog. She couldn’t have one as a child or later when she was living in apartments that did not allow pets. When she brought Fredrika home, she got her first and only dog.

Backman has been working at PBMC for the past 10 years. She has been bringing Fredrika to the center since November 2003.

“Everybody just loves it,” Backman said.

The doctor said she makes no claim that Fredrika can affect the overall health or treatment outcomes of the patients. However, the pet can lift the spirits of the patients and serve as a welcome distraction.

“The patients often forget about their problems and focus on Freddi,” Backman said.

“She is the sweetest dog,” agreed Backman’s partner Dr. Nadia Ramdin. “It’s one of the reasons why I wanted to join this practice. Pets decrease stress and anxiety.”

Backman said one of Fredrika’s strengths in this work is that she is not a one-person dog. She is friendly with everyone she meets and curious about them.

Among her accomplishments is a stint as Miss November in the 2008 Cancer Care Program annual report and calendar. The canine is a style-setter, wearing different scarfs for different seasons. On the Fourth of July, she wears a patriotic flag scarf. During the Christmas season, she wears bells.

Fredrika can relate to people’s health care issues. The dog was rushed to Portland in 2007 for surgery on one of her spinal discs. The doctor said that when the dog returned to the cancer center, many of the patients expressed concern over the canine’s health after seeing where Fredrika’s back had been shaved for the surgery. She would later have to have a second back surgery.

When she’s not hard at work, Fredrika lives in Camden with Backman. Her hobbies include chasing rocks on the beach and sailing.

A community friend, Phil Blackington, visits Fredrika often.

“If I’m down, I spend a few minutes with her and I feel better,” he said.

Despite all of her hard work, Fredrika is not on the hospital payroll. “She works pro bono,” Backman said.

Emphasis on the “bone.”