More than puppy love, Mount Nittany Medical Center starts therapy dog program
Being in a hospital can be stressful, but a visit from a furry four-legged friend might help.
Under a new pet therapy program at Mount Nittany Medical Center in Centre County, patients and staff can have some canine companionship. The dogs get special training, and they receive certification through organizations including the Alliance of Therapy Dogs and Therapy Dogs International, both of which are recognized by the American Kennel Club.
“We believe in the power of these specialty trained therapy dogs to provide comfort and companionship to our patients, ultimately reducing their stress and anxiety levels," Steve Sinclair, a member of the nursing administration, who helped develop the program as part of his master’s degree project, said in a news release.
According to Mount Nittany Health, dogs in the program are picked for being well-behaved, enjoying people and thriving in schools and other institutions.
Right now, the program has three dogs — Baily, Connor and Faolin — and their handlers. The community volunteers began their training Friday, and Mount Nittany expects the dogs to begin their one-hour shifts in the upcoming weeks.