WEAU | Eau Claire, Wisconsin | News

Therapy Dogs

By: Teresa Moua-Her
By: Teresa Moua-Her

Visiting a hospital can't always be a pleasant experience; however, a local hospital is changing that in some ways.
Sacred Heart has a therapy pet program where volunteer therapy dogs get to visit patients for two hours a day but they do more than just sit and stay.
Dogs have long been called man's best friend and at people's worst times, which can be at the hospital, dogs can provide comfort and relaxation.
Sacred Heart brings in registered therapy dogs to provide a special kind of medicine.
Marilyn Nesvacil has been a patient at the Marshfield Clinic Regional Cancer Center for three years. She's benefited over time. She says it takes her mind off what's happening while at the hospital.
Another patient who has been there for a little over a month says it’s already working for her.
Sandy Grundman says, “I think it’s a fantastic program and just having the dog there kind of calms you down and gets that anxiety level down.”
A normal day at the hospital for one of the dogs would be walking down hallways and visiting patients, and staff, either in their rooms or in the waiting area.
Mary Pengra Director of Volunteer Services at Sacred Heart says, “They're finding that when the patients are interacting with the companion animals that it is lowering their blood pressure, their heart rates, stabilizing them, calming them.
Peggy Savidas has been sharing her therapy dogs for over a decade. She says one of her canine caregivers inspired a stroke victim to speak again.
The next time people visit this hospital, expect to see one like Chelsa wagging her tail around the hall ways greeting people.


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