Sign In

Therapy Pet Visits

August 26, 2020

Belly rubs, head scratches and smiles were in abundance during a recent shift change at UT Health Tyler, as caregivers coming on or off duty stopped to interact with Therapet dogs, who lined the hallway of the hospital’s skywalk.

“Nowadays it’s really stressful, so it’s great to see dogs,” said Ashley Meador, occupational therapy assistant, as she stopped to pet one of the therapy dogs after her shift ended. “I really want a dog, so it made all the difference.”

Therapet partners with UT Health East Texas to serve patients on a regular basis. However, when those visits ceased because of COVID-19, Therapet Executive Director Elysia Reineck said they tried to get creative in how to provide assistance.

“Both the human volunteers and the dogs, they very much miss the interaction,” Reineck said. “We are grateful to the amazing employees of UT Health East Texas for the long and stressful hours they’ve put in over the past few months to help keep our community stay safe and well. We’re excited to have the opportunity to say ‘thank you’ in person and provide some hugs from the Therapet dogs.”

Cassie Anderson, UT Health Tyler’s director of volunteers and patient logistics, said Therapet’s visits have been missed during the COVID restrictions, so the recent visit was “a great opportunity for them to do what they do best, and for our caregivers to have a bit of a respite from the stresses of working in healthcare during this trying time.”

Donna Atwood, director of outpatient surgery, said the visit was a great mood booster at the end of a long shift.

“I feel so supported and it’s just a wonderful opportunity to be able to literally have access to something that’s therapeutic, and we know the facility is supporting us,” Atwood said.

Register your Dog Schedule a Visit

  • Recent News

    Pet Therapy Program

    Saturday, October 10 is World Mental Health Day, which this year has a new sense of urgency for many. Covid-19 has taken a mental and emotional toll on healthcare workers across the U.S but there is a program boosting the spirits of doctors and nurses on the frontlines. At UC Irvine Medical Center in Southern […]

    Read more

    AMR Therapy Dog

    Rampart, a therapy dog with American Medical Response San Bernardino County, recently passed his Certified Therapy Dog exam. AMR acquired Rampart, a 1½-year-old goldendoodle, when he was 10 weeks old. Rampart started basic obedience classes when he was 4 months old and continued through advanced obedience classes, according to a news release. When he was […]

    Read more

    Workers Get Canine Interactions

    It was a long, boring spring and summer for the four-footed members of the Alliance of Therapy Dogs, who couldn’t visit nursing homes and hospitals giving tail wags and doggy smiles. The coronavirus paused the professional canine therapeutic interactions with patients and hospital workers. “You could actually see him falling into a depression at home,” said Wendy Kadish of […]

    Read more

    Therapy Dog Program

    An initiative by Cyndy Caravelis, associate professor of criminology and criminal justice at Western Carolina University, will include a pilot program to use a therapy dog to aid domestic violence victims and their families in Jackson County. Caravelis’ German shepherd Atlas will escort victims and family members into court procedures and stay with children while […]

    Read more

    Therapy Dogs Working With Staff

    After a pause due to COVID-19, the St. John Ambulance Abbotsford therapy dog team recently returned to visit staff at several different correctional facilities in the Fraser Valley. The PAWS inside program originally began at the Alouette Correctional Centre for Women five years ago and started off by providing services to inmates. Last year, the […]

    Read more

    Therapy Dog Bringing Comfort

    The Marion County Sheriff’s Office has a special K-9 who plays an important role. While most K-9s help in crime scenes and investigations, Comfort Caj is crime therapy dog and brings smiles to the community and the sheriff’s office. “He really brings a light and energy to this whole building, that you can’t fathom, you […]

    Read more

    Montgomery County's Therapy Dog

    Montgomery County has a new tool to help give crime victims some support. That tool’s name is Zurg. Zurg is the new therapy dog for the Montgomery County district attorney’s office. Montgomery County District Attorney Daryl Bailey introduced Zurg as the newest member of the team Monday. Coming from Canine Companions for Independence, Zurg will […]

    Read more