Therapists are often an essential part of treatment or recovery for our patients, but sometimes they come in surprising forms.
In 1981, Wendy Wornson was injured in car accident – just two days shy of her seventh birthday. Because of the head trauma involved, Wendy suffers from small but chronic seizures. With the help of medications and ongoing hospital care, Wendy is able to live a life as close to normal as possible. During one particularly long hospital stay with her sister Kristin at her side, Wendy was greeted by an unlikely character ¬– a certified therapy dog named Arrow.
“Arrow stuck his cute face in and we both giggled and smiled,” says Wendy.
It was complete surprise, she says, to have Arrow there. [Dogs] have a gentle and nurturing spirit, Kristen says.
“They have a special instinct about them. Our dogs at home are the same way. When Wendy needs them, they lay right beside her and cuddle with her and give her licks and lots of love,” she says.
Studies show animal-assisted therapy can significantly reduce pain, anxiety, depression and fatigue in people with a wide range of health problems. Wendy and Kristen say they would recommend pet therapy to other patients.
“We receive great care from all the staff – both nurses and doctors alike. Arrow, however, was definitely an added bonus this time.” Kristen says. If you would like to be a dog therapy volunteer or would like your dog to be certified for hospital visits, these guidelines must be met.