Pet therapy programs bring relief, calm to Norton Healthcare facilities

Norton Children’s Hospital Gynecology Specialists latest facility to introduce pet therapy program

Many Norton Healthcare facilities offer pet therapy programs to aid patients in their healing. Also known as animal-assisted therapy, pet therapy contributes to patients’ mental and physical well-being. Some of these benefits include:

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  • Lower blood pressure
  • Improved cardiovascular health
  • Diminished physical pain
  • Ease of depression
  • Alleviated loneliness
  • Lower anxiety
  • Reduced stress

Coupled with the expert care of Norton Healthcare physicians, pet therapy is just what the doctor ordered.

“The benefits from the therapy dog program have exceeded my expectations,” said Meredith Loveless, M.D., Norton Children’s Hospital Gynecology Specialists. “Having a therapy dog available for patients to focus on makes for a more positive experience in an office where most patients are already anxious and nervous.”

Norton Children’s Hospital Gynecology Specialists is the latest practice to add a pet therapy program. Rosebud, a 5-year-old Labradoodle, is a welcomed member of the team. She visits the downtown office most Tuesdays, Wednesdays and Fridays and is available to all patients to help reduce stress and foster a more positive experience at the practice.

“The biggest effect is how calm patients are when their visit has included Rosebud,” said Samantha Miller, R.N., practice supervisor, Norton Children’s Hospital Gynecology Specialists. “It makes it a more positive experience because the patients and their families are able to focus on the dog rather than the exam.”

Norton Hospital also supports an active pet therapy program through its partnership with WAGS (Wonderful Animals Giving Support) Pet Therapy of Kentucky Inc. WAGS is a non-profit organization powered by the support of volunteers who believe animals can be healers. WAGS and Norton Hospital partnered in 2012. A patient favorite at Norton Hospital is Squirrel, a former shelter rescue cat. Squirrel is one of only a few felines that are WAGS-certified therapy pets.

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