Studies have shown that petting a dog can improve a person’s blood pressure and heart rate, and can actually release endorphins that can block pain. Patients can relax when a therapy dog is present and petting a dog can calm a person who is angry, afraid, upset or depressed.
At Banner Health, we realize that sometimes tail wagging is the best medicine. That’s why we offer Dog Therapy in many of our hospitals. No medicine, no needles...just good, old-fashioned TLC delivered in a genuinely furry, four-legged way!
- Encourage socialization
- Provide laughter and amusement
- Offer mental stimulation
- Create a break from the routine of being a hospital patient
- Help patients forget about their problems or pain
- Reduce loneliness and depression
- Encourage focus on the dog
- Add some excitement to the day
Dogs have a way of accepting you without condition just the way you are. Because of that, most people can’t help but feel happy when they see a happy dog!
How Does Dog Therapy Work?
The Dog Therapy Program is a program run by facility volunteers and their precious pooches. Each registered therapy dog usually makes hospital rounds once a week for 1 to 2 hours at a time, charming patients, visitors and staff. A special visit from any one of our adorable therapy dogs brings joy and priceless smiles to patients in our care.
What Are the Qualifications of Therapy Dogs?
Therapy dogs can be any breed as long as they have gentle temperaments, are obedient, have the ability to learn and are well groomed. They also must readily accept strangers, sit still amidst distractions and not react adversely to other dogs. The dogs are at least 1 year in age and they and their handlers have gone through extensive training and are certified through a national dog therapy organization prior to being permitted to participate in the therapy program.