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PAWrade for PAWsitive Therapy Program helps bring comfort to hospital patients

Tenet Health Central Coast
Eleven teams of handlers and therapy dogs marched down the hallway of Sierra Vista Regional Medical Center on Thursday in hopes of bringing joy to patients.
Tenet Health Central Coast
Tenet Health Central Coast
Tenet Health Central Coast
Tenet Health Central Coast

SAN LUIS OBISPO, Calif. - The Sierra Vista Regional Medical Center celebrated its expanded Dog Therapy Program – "Pawsitive Therapy" with a "Pawrade" around the first floor of the hospital on Thursday.

Employees and patients lined the halls of the Sierra Vista hospital in order to visit with dogs and their handlers during the parade. Studies have shown that therapy dogs can help reduce patient stay length and even the need for pain medicines in participating patients.

Interaction with the dogs also helps reduce depression which encourages the patients to engage with their recovery in a more positive way.

Tenet Health Centra Coast said they have had a dog therapy program in place for over four years. The program was expanded to 11 certified teams of handlers and dogs. They expect to provide therapy every day of the week to patients soon.

Tenet Health said they also hope to soon expand their program to assist in physical therapy and potentially other areas as well.

Therapy dog teams are screened, educated, trained and must show they are well-mannered, well-behaved and enjoy meeting people before they are certified by the Alliance of Therapy Dogs (ATD).

All dogs must have proof of vaccines and participate in a three-visit tester to monitor and instruct the teams as part of the qualification process.

The handler-dog teams are entirely made up of volunteers.

The program is headed by Bridgette Bateman, RN, CCRN, who is the Director of Nursing for Emergency Services, House Supervision and the Float Pool and Arthur Dominguez Jr., DNP, MSN, RN, CEN, CPEN, TCRN, CCRN, CENP, Chief Nursing Officer at Sierra Vista.

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Jessica Brest

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