The popular "Heavenly Hounds" are providing a "dog-gone" good service at St. Joseph Mercy Hospital. Every patient appreciates receiving a visitor during a hospital stay. It appears that's especially true when the visitor has four legs, fur and a wagging tail.
Pet therapy, as an alternative form of treatment, has been utilized across hospitals and healthcare setting for more than 40 years. Although hard research is limited on the clinical effects of utilizing pets as a way to reduce blood pressure, heart rate and stress; anecdotal accounts are bountiful. And, it appears that animals have a comforting, reassuring affect on people that decreases anxiety and depression, lessons feelings of loneliness and isolation, and aids socialization and acceptance between people.
St. Joseph Mercy Hospital's Animal Assisted Therapy program has been approved by a local infectious disease specialist and is available to patients four times each month. Only dogs are included in Animal Assisted Therapy at St. Joseph Mercy Hospital.
Therapy pets at St. Joseph Mercy Hospital have undergone specialized training before being introduced in the hospital setting. They are certified by Therapy Dogs International, Inc. (TDI). The dog's health records are complete and signed by a licensed veterinarian, and they have passed the American Kennel Club's Canine Good Citizen Test.
Therapy pets are accompanied by a trained handler, and only visit patients when invited to do so.
Pet-loving patients at St. Joseph Mercy Hospital can anticipate visits every Saturday. If you or a loved one would like a Therapy Dog Visit on a day other than Saturday, please call 810-985-1675 or email CROWEC@trinity-health.org.