We work hard to celebrate all of the amazing patients, partners, and family members who make up our centers. But there’s another group you may not know about that brings love, friendship, and wellness to our NHC community: the NHC dogs.
Whether patients are visiting us for a short stay or living full-time in one of our long-term care centers, these furry friends help patients feel at home and remind them that they’re not alone. It’s no surprise, then, that therapy dogs are proven to reduce depression and anxiety for many of the people who interact with them.
Beyond the emotional benefits, did you know that dogs can also help people heal faster from an injury or illness? Some of the dogs you might see around your center are “facility therapy dogs” or “animal assisted therapy dogs.” These dogs are trained to work with a physical or occupational therapist to help patients with a variety of exercises, movements, and tasks.
We even find that our “therapeutic visitation dogs” — who are mostly there to offer emotional support — bring a playful energy that encourages patients who are able to be more active and engaged.
It’s not uncommon to find a patient who’s hesitant to mingle with their peers coming out of their room to join the fun when one of our dog friends arrives for a visit. And if they’re unable to leave their bed, our visitation dogs are always willing to drop by their room for some one-on-one attention and cuddles.
Keep an eye out for a friendly therapy dog the next time you visit one of our centers, and don’t be afraid to give them some love!