May 10, 2016 – Pet Partners
Anchor lead: Is there a place for dogs in the hospital? Elizabeth Tracey reports
Dogs and other pets belong in the hospital, various animal therapy organizations assert, citing ancient bonds between people and domesticated animals that benefit both. Stephanie Greenberg, who manages dog visitation at Johns Hopkins Hospital, says successful dog therapy relies on both members of a dog visitation team.
Greenberg: There’s two parts to a team. There’s the handler and the dog. We’re looking for well-balanced social dogs who like people. Their whole role is to come into the hospital and meet strangers, and love the affection. We accept any breed, any size, any age, as long as the dogs are well-trained, we do require that the dogs are certified, there’s a rigorous testing that goes on before they’re able to go into the hospital, and we have an extensive training program for the dogs. :28
Greenberg says dogs at Johns Hopkins range from beagles to mastiffs, and that nationally, even cats, miniature horses and alpacas come to see patients. She says the human handlers too range from those who simply loves dogs to full time Hopkins employees who return to share the warmth of a cold nose. At Johns Hopkins, I’m Elizabeth Tracey.