Therapy dogs bring a pawsitive experience to Osler

by Osler Staff | Feb 20, 2019

 As part of Recreational Therapy Month celebrations, Osler’s Recreation Therapists arranged for some furry friends to pay staff a visit. At Brampton Civic and Etobicoke General staff got to an up-close look at how these therapy dogs are helping patients.

“It’s a way to show other staff part of what we do as Recreational Therapists.” says Chris Richard, Recreational Therapist “Part of our role is to provide some normalcy and give patients a sense of home when they are at the hospital.”

Many patients have pets at home, so having a dog visit them when they are in hospital brings a smile to their face, puts them more at ease and decreases their anxiety and stress. The dogs come once a week from Therapeutic Paws of Canada and St. John’s Ambulance Dog Therapy Program. They visit with inpatients who are interested in having some additional company, and they also come for an hour to hang out with patients in their Mental Health groups. 

“Even staff need pets the same way patients do,” says Richard. “Taking a few minutes on their break to visit with the dogs can help decrease stress, anxiety and burnout.”

Kathy Sury was drawn to participating in the program after her own personal experience with therapy dogs. When Sury's mother was living in a long-term care home, her favourite moments were the days the dogs came in.

“The days of the week were all the same to her, but Dog Days were special.” Seeing the comfort and joy the dogs brought to her Mom and other patients was more than enough reason for her to enroll Amy, her golden retriever as a therapy dog.

Thanks to all of our pawtners for helping bring the warmth and unconditional love to our patients and staff this week!