While modern medicine has made many advances over the years, there is one type of treatment that has been around for decades that still holds true today: Man’s best friend.
On Wednesday, CHI Health St. Francis held Wag Therapy for patients, workers and hospital visitors.
Sparky, a Wheaton terrier with Healing Hearts Therapy Dogs, and Moses, a golden retriever with the Lutheran Christian Charities K-9 Comfort Dog program, greeted anybody who came to the lobby to pet them.
Kathy Ripp, Sparky’s teammate with Healing Hearts, takes Sparky around to visit patients on a regular basis.
Ripp said it is amazing how much therapy and comfort dogs help with the healing process.
She said a little while ago, she took Sparky to a patient’s room so the woman could pet the dog for a little bit.
When Ripp asked the woman how she was, the woman replied that she was in a lot of pain.
When it came time for Ripp and Sparky to leave, the woman said, “Honey I want to thank you for bringing him in here. I’ve had 15 minutes without pain.”
Ted Dibbern is one of Moses’s handlers for LCC K-9 Comfort Dogs. Dibbern explained that not only do they take the dogs to hospitals, but they take them to nursing homes, assisted-living centers and anywhere in the country that needs their help.
He said Moses is going on 9 years old and has been to many places where disaster has struck over the years.
Dibbern said they take the dogs to disaster sites so that they can bring comfort to the people affected.
Ripp said it has been shown that pets help relieve anxiety and fear as well as bring comfort to a person in need.
She said if people want to get involved in the Healing Hearts Therapy Dogs program, they can contact Marla Wademan at (402) 450-1081 or email her at email@example.com.
Dogs go through behavioral training and must pass a series of tests to become a therapy dog.
If people want to get involved with the LCC K-9 Comfort Dog program, they can contact Don Moeller at (308) 380-9875.
Dibbern said they are always looking for people to help, and volunteers don’t have to be handlers. They can be trainers or helpers.