SJEH Offers Pet Therapy
St. John’s Episcopal Hospital’s newest therapist is a pet therapy dog named “Boots.” Being cute, furry and having a wet black nose are definite assets that have helped Boots in his successful pet therapy career. At St. John’s, Boots makes his rounds in the Dialysis Center, Pediatrics and other units. Boots only visits patients by request: patients must qualify and sign a consent for a visit from the fuzzy hypoallergenic therapist.
“Studies have shown that pets can have a beneficial effect on health and well-being by providing companionship, love and emotional responsiveness,” said Lynore Dupiton, RN, Vice President, Patient Care Services at St. John’s. “Plus they help distract patients from the emotional and physical challenges of their hospital stays or treatments, adding to improved medical outcomes and shorter hospitalizations,” Ms. Dupiton added.
A two-and-a-half-year-old Yorkiepoo (Yorkshire terrier and poodle mix), Boots is a certified pet therapy dog, screened and trained by the Delta Program, a national organization that trains and certifies pet therapy dogs, according to his owner, Maccy Paley. Dogs must have received prior obedience training. The Delta Program familiarizes the dogs with the hospital setting. Both Mrs. Paley and Boots have qualified for their Delta Program pet therapy badges. Mrs. Paley decided to train Boots as a pet therapy dog because, she said, “Boots is such a friendly, people-loving dog, he’s a natural fit for the Hospital. Boots and I get a lot of joy helping others feel good. When I put his little green vest on him, Boots knows he’s going to the Hospital and when we drive up to the Hospital’s front entrance, he gets very excited. He loves his job!”