There has been significant research regarding the benefits of the relationships between animals and humans. To name only a few, Animal Assisted Activities can help lower blood pressure and pulse rates, relieve stress, encourage laughter, increase communication and improve memory recall.
The American Humane Association says, “Animal Assisted Therapy provides healing, motivation and comfort through the power of human-animal bond.”
The Sentara Obici Hospital Kanine Kandystripers are certified therapy dog teams made up of handlers and their canines. These teams make informal visits to patients, families and staff, bringing comfort, unconditional love, a paw to shake and a heart eager to please. These visits provide stimulation, socialization and provide a break from the typical hospital routine.
Prior to starting training classes, all potential Kanine Kandystripers must first be certified by Therapy Dog International
(TDI). We have found that this makes for a much smoother transition into our program as the TDI certification ensures, hopefully, that the dog is trained and conditioned to act mannerly in the home, in public places and in the presence of other dogs. In addition, upon completion of training (typically an hour a week for four weeks), each team must meet the requirements of the Sentara Obici Hospital Therapy Dog exam.
Once you and your canine have completed the training and testing requirements, you’ll be ready to share your special canine with others. Hospital visits are varied and differ from patient to patient. Some patients may tell a story about their dog or a pet they had as a child. Others may not want to see the dog at all. Many of our visits involve the dogs being petted in the lobby by visitors before making their rounds. Sometimes, individuals who are awaiting major surgery, are depressed, or have not had a visitor in a while can all be comforted and reassured by a visit from a gentle Kanine Kandystriper. The quiet comfort provided by a furry friend seems to calm nerves and distract the patient (and family) from medical treatments and has often been proven to enhance recovery process.
For more information about Sentara Obici’s Kanine Kandystriper program, contact the AAA Coordinator, Lydia Dunkailo, CTRS, at (757) 934-4856 or at email@example.com