Just the sight of a dog can instantly boost your spirits, and just maybe your health, too.
Pet therapy programs have become a common sight in clinical settings. Lenox Hill Hospital's pet therapy dogs visit patients in many departments. But, Dr. Robert Glatter, emergency physician at Lenox Hill Hospital, took it a step further with his idea to add a furry four-legged friend to the staff in the emergency department.
“Some studies have shown that having pets in emergency departments can improve blood pressure and actually improve vital signs,” he said. “When people see her they immediately smile. That’s important. Smiling is really known to have a positive effect on people. I think that people really can form an attachment to them when they’re in the emergency department and it makes them feel right at home.”
Whenever Phoebe, a Cairn Terrier, waddles into Lenox Hill Hospital’s Emergency Department, the uplifting affect is immediate for both patients and staff, many of whom know her by name.
“There’s nothing like it,” said Dave Gelin, Assistant Nurse Manager in the Emergency Department at Lenox Hill Hospital. "Everytime Phoebe walks into the door it just brings up the morale, not only the patients, but it brings up the morale of the staff."
Phoebe is one of nine dogs that make up the pet therapy program at Lenox Hill Hospital. The other pet therapy dogs include Scruffles, Alex, Kef, Friday, Nikki, Jimmy, and the tiniest of our snuggly volunteers, Blackberry and Twitter.
“Pets and dogs are very good for patients,” said Raymond Taylor, a patient who enjoyed a visit from Phoebe while in the emergency department. “She’s helped me bide the time away while I wait for the doctors to do their thing.”