Lending Patients a Helping Paw

All of Fairview Health Services’ volunteers have big hearts. Some have four paws and a tail.

Arrow and his owner are part of Fairview’s pet therapy program, in which dogs and their handlers volunteer to help patients across the Fairview system cope with stress, anxiety and illness.

Patients that are able to interact with pets during their hospital stays have been shown to experience decreased pain and increased mood and energy levels.

All pet therapy dogs are certified through Therapy Dogs International and all handlers undergo Fairview volunteer training. Once both dog and handler are approved, they are cleared to start making rounds throughout the hospital—from the inpatient units and the cancer/infusion therapy clinic to the waiting areas and lobbies.

Some Fairview staff members even participate in the pet therapy program, bringing their dogs in during their off-duty hours to interact with patients.

“You might think coming back to the hospital after a day of work is tough, but is the best part of my day, says Phyllis Anderson, a Fairview pharmacist who volunteers with her canine companion.

To learn more about volunteering at Fairview, visit our volunteering webpage. And, if you happen to see Arrow, be sure to say “Hello.” You’re sure to get a wag.

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