When people show up to a hospital’s emergency department, they’re usually in pain and almost always anxious. The hospital’s medical staff can start treating injuries right away, but they don’t always have quick fixes for emotional distress.
That’s where therapy dogs come in! According to a recent Canadian study, even a short visit with a traveling therapy dog might do the trick. In fact, out of 97 patients who spent just 10 minutes with a therapy dog, 48% reported a decrease in anxiety, 43% a decrease in pain, and 41% an increase in overall well-being.
“When a therapy dog and their handler enter a patient’s room, you can see and almost feel how the stress of the patient starts to decrease,” says Colleen Dell, a sociologist at the University of Saskatchewan in Canada.