Columbus, OH,
16:18 PM

Hospital Patients Find Friend In Therapy Dogs



A hospital stay can be a challenging experience for a patient and their family.  While the care can be top of the line, many times the patient is staying in very unfamiliar locations, with some unfamiliar faces coming and going from a hospital room.  But on a very regular basis at OhioHealth Doctors Hospital on West Broad Street in Columbus, a team of furry faces and their handlers are breaking down some of those challenges that can come from a hospital stay.

Samson and Mischa are therapy dogs spending many of their days walking the halls of Doctors Hospital.  They are specially trained to be at their best when some patients are potentially going through their worst.

"It takes them away for a few seconds about what's going on with them," said Angie Jones, Therapy Dog Program Coordinator for OhioHealth Doctors Hospital.  "They open the door for communication for us to talk to people that want to be talked to or just to stand back and let them pet the dog," said Jones.

Dogs are not ready to walk the hospital on day one.  Therapy dogs must go through obedience and specialized training before they are ready to see patients of all ages. Once those dogs get the training the need, and match up with a handler, the results can often be seen. There are some medical research studies that show therapy dogs can have impact on mood, pain, and energy. 

Some patients have dogs of their own at home; dogs that aren't able to be there in the hospital with the patient.  In some cases, the patient may have lost a dog.  Handlers and patients say therapy dogs can help bring some of those special memories back, and get patients emotionally on the road the recovery.

ABC 6 reporter Tara Morgan visited Doctors Hospital to see the therapy dogs at work. You can watch her story above.