Therapy dogs at Freeman hospital for National Therapy Animal Day
Bringing comfort and joy to patients
JOPLIN, Mo. — Jim Damm, a patient at Freeman hospital had his day made with a visit from some furry friends.
“I’ve never been anywhere that has had dogs come in like this, it’s great.”
The dogs are there to provide comfort and joy to the patients.
“If you can’t tell how the spirits are lifted..it’s amazing what they can do for you.”
Becoming a therapy dog is not an easy task. The dogs are all owned by individuals as their personal pets. They have to go through organizations like Love on a Leash and Pet Partner to become a certified therapy dog.
Therapy dog team member, Sue Hicks says there is extensive training involved.
“By being with this organizations they have to go through classes, they have to go through observations, so many hours in order just to become a therapy dog with that organization, that’s the only way they are allowed in the hospital.”
But to Hicks, it is worth it to see the impact that these dogs make on patients.
“If you can go in there and you said you know I’m having a lot of pain, number 9 on the ricter scale, but you know that dog came in and it seemed like my pain just disappeared for that length of time and to me that’s important and if I can do that to one individual thats made my whole day.”
It not only helps them forget their pain but brings them back to a happier time.
“Everybody’s had a pet in their life and just by them coming in and laying next to them on the bed and doing little tricks whether they shake hands or roll over, it makes them smile and it makes them go to a happy place.”
For Damm, choosing to go to Freeman was simple, but with the addition of the therapy dogs there, it has made his time there…even better.
“This is great, yeah this is great, I could spend all day with these, yes.”
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