Shelter Dogs Helping Hospital Workers Relieve Stress

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The Pennsylvania SPCA and its many wonderful dogs are helping boost morale and bring stress relief to workers at the Hospital of the University of Pennsylvania in Philadelphia. They hope the new program called “Pet a Pooch” will also help some of their lovable dogs find loving homes.

The caregivers at the hospital deal with high-stress situations on a daily basis and now through the “Pet a Pooch” program they will be able to deal with that stress and trauma with a friendly four-legged friend.

“We all feel terrible when someone dies, when there is a loss, when we build these relationships and something goes wrong, and so your soul needs some reassurance,” said the chief nurse executive at HUP, Dr. Victoria Rich. “An animal, such as these great dogs here, they feel lonely. You can identify with that sadness in their eyes when you touch them and when you hug them, and they validate you as a human. And that is what this is all about.”

The program is great for the dogs too, who get to socialize and meet potential adopters in a new way.

“We are delighted to partner with HUP in this unique program that benefits both the humans and the canines involved,” said CEO of the Pennsylvania SPCA Jerry Buckley. “The bond between humans and animals is well documented. Not only are these dogs providing stress release for staff, but the opposite is also true. Having time away from the shelter and interacting with people in a positive way gives our dogs much needed enrichment and socialization and helps increase their chances for a successful adoption.”

The Pennsylvania SPCA hopes that the program will help the dogs make connections with the hospital workers which can lead to them finding a forever home. The program will be run monthly and the programs trial visit was a great success. Three dogs were brought to the hospital and all three were adopted.

For more information on the program visit the Pennsylvania SPCA’s website.

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