The Dogs for Joy™ program has funded over 40 in-resident facility dogs at hospitals across the country. A facility dog is professionally trained to work in a healthcare setting. Unlike volunteer dogs that visit a hospital or medical center for a short time, facility dogs are at the hospital every day with their handlers. In most cases they are used exclusively for clinical work.
The dogs can physically interact with patients to provide comfort and love. These dogs are trained to help with tasks like teaching kids how to take medication, keeping a child calm during medical intervention and providing incentives for kids to get out of bed for a walk. These dogs serve as a source of happiness and provide a sense of normalcy for patients.
Research shows that animal-assisted therapy can lower stress and anxiety levels, affect blood pressure, increase patient mobility, and provide an alternative focus from pain. They help patients lower their stress and anxiety and encourage them to complete their health care goals.