Sign In

Therapy Dog Teams

June 22, 2020

They usually can be found every day of the week, making the rounds at Heart of the Rockies Regional Medical Center (HRRMC), visiting patients and staff, bringing joy and comfort – on four legs. The Therapy Dog program returned for one day this past week, meeting staff at the hospital entrances to honor the service of first responders to this community.

The arguably very popular Therapy Dog program at  HRRMC had to be temporarily discontinued when the coronavirus pandemic known as COVID-19 arrived. The crisis arrived with a host of unknowns for medical care facilities to deal with and placing animals and their handlers in patient areas had to be halted.

In addition to postponing elective surgeries and other services, the hospital enacted strict protocols for infection prevention and sanitation procedures. It limited exposure for employees and access by the public, along with use of personal protective gear, such as masks and gloves.

While the Therapy Dog program is still on hold, several of the volunteer program participants wanted to join in the continuing community support for healthcare heroes shown over the past three months.

So on June 15, a number of the volunteers and their dogs gathered at the employee entrance of the hospital to express their appreciation with colorful signs and of course, their friendly, affectionate canines.

The program, administered by Volunteer Coordinator Kimla Robinson, has been running since 2007 and dogs have to be certified by Pet Partners and Therapy Dogs International. Dogs and their handlers have to be reliably trained and current on all immunizations.

As employees ended or arrived for their shifts at the hospital, they were greeted by sign slogans such as “We Howl for Healthcare Heroes,” “Woof You and Miss You,” “Pawsing to Thank You for All You Do,” “Bow Wow Equals Thank You,” “Hugs 4 Healthcare,” and simply “Thank You.”

The dogs did their part, of course, showing affection to the workers as they received behind-the-ear scratches and praise. Each dog also received a bag of treats from Medical Records staff by way of returning the kind gesture.

Robinson said while it’s unknown how long before the canine therapy teams can return, they are missed by staff, and were cheered by the gesture.

Register your Dog Schedule a Visit

  • Recent News

    Students Get Therapy Dog

    When middle school students return to class on Jan. 11, they’ll find a new face at the door: Daisy. Daisy is a therapy dog and the personal pet of Rob Kreger, principal of the Rock L. Butler Middle School. The five-year-old golden retriever is not a school pet or mascot, but rather a working dog […]

    Read more

    Therapy Dogtor

    Last March, Caroline Benzel, a third-year medical student, began to notice the stress and discomfort her nurse friends were feeling from the pressures of the ongoing Covid-19 pandemic. “[Personal protective equipment] can be really rough on the skin,” Benzel, 31, tells PEOPLE. Benzel and her 3-year-old Rottweiler, Loki (who’s also a therapy dog) hatched a […]

    Read more

    Therapy Dog Pups

    When Stanley the miniature fox terrier’s owner passed away, the little dog started a ‘paw-some’ new role – bringing puppy love to some of the Gold Coast’s oldest residents. After Carinity Cedarbrook Diversional Therapist Julianne Staff adopted Stanley, he began visiting the aged care community at Mudgeeraba as a therapy dog. Therapy dogs help to […]

    Read more

    Therapy Dogs At School

    Those who own a dog can attest to their ability to lift mood, improve stress and bring joy by simply being there, unanswering, seemingly all-knowing and always delighted to see you.  Therapy animals are known for their calm and comforting nature, giving people a way to relax, de-stress and interact with a loving pet.  They […]

    Read more

    Wonder Dog

    For those of us with dogs, we know they quickly become major parts of the family. You live for and care for just like one of your own children, and one dog right here in Oklahoma City is beating the odds, and helping others recover as a therapy dog, despite all of the issues he’s […]

    Read more

    Scott And Charlie

    Cherokee Middle School students may do a little more “doodling” second semester starting this month (January), but also will improve their attendance marks because of a special attraction at the school, courtesy of Principal Scott Aden. Aden, an effective, caring administrator, has acquired and will house and handle a young female Golden Doodle (Charlie) that […]

    Read more

    Hope For Veterans

    E5 Therapy opened in April with a different way to help veterans in therapy. They offer canine-assisted therapy along with talk therapy to veterans and veterans’ families in Solano County. Owner Matthew Decker is a licensed clinical social worker in Northern California, focused on helping veterans achieve their mental health goals. Along with his team, […]

    Read more