Therapy dogs are trained to provide affection and comfort to people in hospitals, retirement homes, nursing homes, schools, hospices and disaster areas. They also assist people with learning difficulties.
Patients in the Sidney & Lois Eskenazi Hospital can request a visit from a certified therapy dog any time the dogs are in the building. Nurses can arrange visits for patients who they feel could benefit from interaction with a dog. Patients can hold or pet the dogs, and the dogs are also able to lie on the bed with patients. Unlike service dogs, who are primarily used for deaf or blind individuals, therapy dogs are trained to bring comfort to people.
Multiple studies have been conducted on the effect of pets on people in recovery. Positive effects have included:
- Lowering blood pressure and heart rate
- Reducing stress, pain, anxiety and loneliness
- Mental stimulation
- Human socialization
Therapy dogs must be at least a year old and complete three classes before they can be officially certified as a therapy dog. Eskenazi Health’s current therapy dogs include:
- Murphy, golden retriever and black lab mix
- Chief, golden retriever
- Luna, Shih Tzu and yorkie mix
- Prince, coonhound
- Jovi, toy poodle
- Olivia, champion Newfoundland
Patients who would like to request a visit while in the Sidney & Lois Eskenazi Hospital should speak with their nurse.