An Australian hospital recently introduced a group of therapy dogs for children and the results are amazing. According to doctors, the dogs have helped reduce the recovery time of seriously ill patients by up to 30%.
John Hunter Hospital started a new program with Delta Therapy Dogs, and the trial run is being monitored by medical professionals around the world.
When dogs have visited young patients so far it has led to vastly improved outcomes and speedier recovery times.
“We had the hypothesis that bringing these dogs in to visit sick patients would cheer them up and bring them a bit of joy,” said one of the program’s volunteers. “What we didn’t realize at the time was that the interaction with animals also had a real therapeutic benefit to the patients they visited.”
One patient who had the chance to interact with the dogs had amazing results.
“The very first day that we walked in, the mother couldn’t believe it — the girl actually spoke and had a smile on her face,” voluntary regional coordinator of the program, Pam Withers said. “She wasn’t speaking, wasn’t doing anything beforehand, she was just lying there. From that first visit, the girl just accelerated in her recovery.”
A Maltese named Zach (pictured) is one of the dogs that regularly visits the hospital to help sick kids.
“I found that I got great enjoyment from giving back to the community, and the dogs enjoyed it as well,” Zach’s owner, Suzanne Madden, said. “The joy that you give to others, and just to see a smile on people’s faces — to give them an opportunity for non-medical touch, to be able to cuddle and pet an animal.”
Experts have been shocked by the results.
“Patients who opted to have regular visits from the dogs were discharged, on average, 30% quicker than patients who declined a visit from the dogs. Our theory is that the interaction with the dogs is having a direct, positive therapeutic impact that is helping patients overcome their health issues quicker.”
The next time you visit a hospital and see a bunch of dogs, remember that they are there for an amazing reason.