April 16, 2020
The pet therapy program at Sanford Health has always been a hit. Dogs get the opportunity to visit the hospitals to bring some positive energy for both children and staff.
As Sanford continues to limit the number of those who can enter their buildings, however, there hasn’t been any recent visits from the animals.
“We greatly value our pet therapy program that we have and having them come see our kids,” said Sanford’s manager of child life Becky Browning. “Our staff actually looks forward to it as much as our kids do so the fact that we haven’t been able to have them in, obviously with COVID-19, we miss it.”
To bring that interaction between children and animals back, the program held a dog parade. A procession of dogs and their owners walked the front of the Sanford Medical Center and waved to those inside who were watching from their windows.
“It is awesome that we can at least see them this way. Even though it is distance, we can still get to see them,” said Browning.
Pet therapy has been known to work wonders for kids in the hospital as it gives them something to get excited about and take their mind off of things.
In a time where their contact with others is limited, the parade is a way to make them feel more at ease.
“It gives them the hope and it is something fun and exciting outside of the normal things we can provide to normalize the hospital environment,” Browning added. “We all know what it is like being stuck inside currently, so I think an animal kind of brightens everybody’s day.”