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Pet therapy helps calms nerves at Freeman Hospital - KOAM TV 7

Pet therapy helps calms nerves at Freeman Hospital

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For most us a trip to the hospital can be a pretty scary experience.  To make that experience less stressful some patients are now offered a session of pet therapy.

Six year old Pembrook Corgi, Miss Marcy, and her handler, Sue Hicks, specialize in dog therapy, offering a special type of healing to each patient they visit at Freeman Hospital in Joplin.

"We visit everything from the E.R. to the I.C.U. to pediatrics to the different floors," says Hicks.  "We basically go wherever we need it."

For sick children Miss Marcy helps to ease the pain and the fright that can come with a stay in the hospital.

"Just by petting the dog, if just for that instant it makes you think of something else besides pain or being scared or anything like that, the trauma," says Hicks.  "That's what they do.  They make everybody feel comfortable, and it's amazing because when you feel comfortable you smile."

"She makes me feel more relaxed and comfortable," says eleven year old Isiah Richardson, a Freeman patient.

"Pet therapy is just a wonderful," says Isiah's grandmother, Rebecca Smith.  "It's an outlet for children and adults also.  It just - it gives them a lot of genuine love and support from the animal."

For almost a year now Miss Marcy has been brightening the day of hundreds of patients at Freeman Hospital, and even nurses say these pet therapists bring something unique that you just can't get from a human touch.

"There's many things as a nurse that we have to do that are painful and create a lot of stress and trauma sometimes for the kids, so the animal is a very neutral thing to come into their territory here in the hospital and it gives them that calm, because they know that animal is not going to be there to do anything but be nice," says Susan Wallace, a pediatrics Registered Nurse.

These therapy dogs have been known to help reduce the blood pressure in some patients by putting them at ease and calming them down.

The pet therapy program is free of charge and one-on-one sessions are also available.

For more information contact Lucky Dog LLC at 417.782.9100.

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