Wednesday, May 1, 2013
Therapy Dogs at Strong Hospital
At Strong Memorial Hospital, where I am employed, specially trained dogs participate in the PETS (Pets Engaged in Therapeutic Socialization) Program. Hospital staff report remarkable changes in patients and families in the presence of dogs. They are great stress relievers and cause anxious patients to relax.
It is not as simple as bringing a dog into the patient areas. The dogs must receive extensive behavioral training, have medical exams twice a year, and be properly groomed. I am told one of the tests a prospective dog must pass is the ability to walk past a bowl of food and leave it alone. . . my dogs would never do that!
When these dogs enter the hospital with their red "Strong PETS" bandannas, heads turn, faces light up, and people crowd around to pet them.
This program has been so successful that they have been awarded a 2012 Board of Excellence Award for Team Excellence.