On National Puppy Day we celebrate the PAW-inspiring sight of our furry four-legged friends, which can instantly boost your spirits, and just maybe your health, too.
Pet therapy programs have become a common sight in clinical settings. But, Dr. Robert Glatter, emergency physician at Lenox Hill Hospital, took it a step further with his idea to add a pet therapy dog to his 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. “So, that’s an important fact, knowing that a pet has that effect.”
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.
Phoebe is one of nine dogs that make up the pet therapy program at Lenox Hill Hospital, which began a little more than one year ago. With that year under her collar, Phoebe has helped improve patient care by keeping people company in the emergency department.
“When people see her they immediately smile,” Dr. Glatter said. “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.”
Lenox Hill Hospital’s other pet therapy dogs include Chase, Mabel, Friday, Little Dude, Poti, George, Nikki and Jimmy.
“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.”