Therapy dogs....what do you think?

  1. Hi all - I'm a nursing student in my second year and my hobbie (passion really, next to nursing) is/are my dogs, I compete in the sport of agility, I hunt with my dogs, am a judge, I teach basic obedience and agility and am an amateur ethiologist (animal behaviorist).
    So I reasoned that volunteering with my dogs would be a good combination, not to mention rewarding. Two of my four dogs (only 2 were suitable - the other 2 are "problem children") just finished the extensive screening/testing required by Therapy Dogs International and I completed the process involved to become a hospital volunteer (a 3 hospital consortium). Now we are ready to start visiting patients and families.
    Any nurses with advice? experienced any problems? good stories? opinions? observations?
    Any and all would help - haven't seen any previous posts regarding therapy dogs.:angel2:
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  2. 23 Comments

  3. by   longtermcarern
    Quote from Leash
    Hi all - I'm a nursing student in my second year and my hobbie (passion really, next to nursing) is/are my dogs, I compete in the sport of agility, I hunt with my dogs, am a judge, I teach basic obedience and agility and am an amateur ethiologist (animal behaviorist).
    So I reasoned that volunteering with my dogs would be a good combination, not to mention rewarding. Two of my four dogs (only 2 were suitable - the other 2 are "problem children") just finished the extensive screening/testing required by Therapy Dogs International and I completed the process involved to become a hospital volunteer (a 3 hospital consortium). Now we are ready to start visiting patients and families.
    Any nurses with advice? experienced any problems? good stories? opinions? observations?
    Any and all would help - haven't seen any previous posts regarding therapy dogs.:angel2:

    We have therapy dogs come in to visit 1 or 2 times a month, our residents love and look foward to it. We have one lady with massive damage from cva that just comes to life with the biggest smile when they visit.
  4. by   SCRN1
    I've never seen it, but I have heard that these dogs do great wonders with patients, especially the lonely ones.

    I know firsthand that anytime something has made me sad, mad, lonely, etc., all I have to do is just sit back and watch my dog. Next thing I know, he has me playing with him and has cheered me up. They have such unconditional love!
  5. by   TexasPoodleMix
    All i have to say is AWESOME, I have done all breed rescue/foster for 2 yrs now and am quite the dog lover ! Go for it !
  6. by   SmilingBluEyes
    I remember when Gramps was in the nursing home, very very sick. My mom petitioned them to allow her to bring her well-behaved and gentle Irish Setter to see him. Whenever she did, his vital signs improved, his perception of pain decreased and his spirits lifted. I can't help but think therapy dogs (trained for this very purpose) would be beyond beneficial.
  7. by   Mandarella
    :hatparty: That is awesome that you plan to do this with your animals. I am all for it if the patients do not have an immune condition such as neutrapenia. Therapy animals are very beneficial. It is so good to see the patients forget about their illnesses if even for a minute.
  8. by   CHATSDALE
    allow the residents/patients to be aware of dogs before you bring them in some are allergic or phobic but i am sure most will love to see dogs because so many people have had dogs (and other pets) through out their life and now this is somthing they can relate to as part of their past you have a good heart bless you
  9. by   obeyacts2
    I think therapy animals are an excellent idea. They seem the most helpful for the more withdrawn and depressed patients, kind of bringing them alive. One of our local LTC has animal visitors, one is a darling little Pekingese. I do agree with the previous poster that mentioned checking intp pt allergies before visiting. In my area, asthma and various respiratory ailments run rife, so that is consideration too. Im asthmatic and have no issues with dogs, heck, mine even sleeps with me. :chuckle


    laura
  10. by   MandyInMS
    Animals can bring out the good sometimes when no one else can..I'm sure the pts will love it
  11. by   Pretzlgl
    Excellent idea! One of the Assisted Living Facilities I visit has dogs come in - and the residents love it....
  12. by   Tweety
    Awesome! My babies keep me sane, grounded, and lower my blood pressure and stress level. I'm all for pet therapy!!! Kudos!
  13. by   lindaloo51
    This can be a wonderful thing. A year ago my mother had to spend nearly 2 months in the hospital. Her little dog had to spend the time with my family. Both the dog and my mother were desolate. I spoke with nursing service and her doctor. They all agreed that it would not be too disruptive if I brought the dog for a visit. It was a hit with everyone involved. Mom improved rapidly after this. She would save tiny tidbits from her tray as treats for the dog. The staff would stop in more often and ask her how her dog was, she regained confidence that she would be able to go home again and take care of her dog and bird herself. Best of all, she did it!!!!!

    Now at 88, mom is back liviing on her own and can walk to the store next door again. The only thing she doesn't do is drive. (Thank God) She never really liked to do that anyway.

    Shortly after, we started getting therapy dogs to come in occasionaly and every one does very well with it.
  14. by   jnette
    Super. Dogs are indeed man's best friend. It's about time, and we're even seeing it here in some of our more progressive nursing homes. One has its own mascot pooch who wanders the halls freely. Also a very "natural" bird sanctuary (huge glassed in area with tree limbs, etc.) in the "living room"... the patients love to sit in this room and watch and talk to the birds.
    Last edit by jnette on Jun 18, '04

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