Dogs in the therapy pup program at Swedish/Edmonds hospital are making life brighter for patients one great big smile at a time. Each dog in the program makes the rounds with a 4 ½-ounce camera attached to the top of its head, and records visits with patients. Camera footage is then edited and shared on the hospital’s website.
Nurse Stephanie Pendleton, 31, is a big fan of the results. “I found that when patients get a very hard diagnosis, they turn inward and become depressed,” she said. “They stop interacting with the staff. But after they meet with the dog, it’s almost as if the dog comes in and breaks down a wall between the patient and the staff.”
Extensive research has demonstrated that dogs lower stress and anxiety levels in humans and help accelerate the healing process.