- Research is showing Therapy Dogs are an important part of patient recovery and moral in hospitals.
One Northwoods program is gaining paw-pularity quickly.
Buster is a one and a half year old Pekingese Bolognese mix with only a few months of therapy dog work under his collar.
His owner, Marilyn Bolgioni describes him as,
"A happy dog, he loves everyone. He loves older people, younger people, children, other dogs and he seems to know the people that like dogs. He likes that too."
We all know that a hospital can be a stressful area and sometimes, if you're waiting for a procedure, it can even be a dreary day. But when you have somebody like Buster come and visit your room, a therapy dog, he can brighten you up with his soft fur and friendly smile and make everything better.
Bogioni says,"Another woman had had a stroke and she hadn't responded at all until Buster came in the room. She started talking and she probably went on for a half an hour. That was very emotional."
This is the first time Rochelle Oganovich has been hospitalized and says once she heard Buster was in the building she immediately requested a visit, "I believe in this, because they do it all over and I see the difference. Like at the nursing home, how everybody is in high spirits after the dog leaves."
But Buster's not the only dog trotting the halls of the hospital offering aid.
Wayne Bognar and Oliver volunteered for six years full time and the responses from patients kept them going, "You can see that it definitely brightens up their day. You get many stories about their dogs that they used to have and so it brings back a lot of good memories."
Oganovich says, "You cannot live without volunteers. No hospital, no organization cannot go without volunteers. They're the number one people that give 150%."
Now these therapy dogs have become so popular they're having a hard time keeping up with all the healing.
Vice President of Patient Care Service at Ministry Howard Young, Deb Karow says, "We have more requests for visits than we have dogs and handlers at this point in time."
She says almost any dog could be a fit for this program, "Basically anybody who has a dog that's very social, very friendly and very obedient, we would welcome them to inquire about becoming a therapy dog, to join the local chapter and to become part of this program."
With five therapy dogs in this Northwoods pack, it's now expanding to other hospitals.
Bolgioni says she is glad she joined, "I just think it's great. It's more than I hoped it would be. Especially in the aspect that it really helps the patient."
Changing attitudes and relieving stress one paw shake at a time.
For information on our local chapter contact Nancy Diepenbrock at firstname.lastname@example.org or 715-479-2498.
Or check out the link to the international site below.
Therapy Dogs International Website
Written By: Michael Crusan