These furry friends are good for more than just a house pet, they can bring joy to all. Join Tony Martinez as he looks into animal assisted therapy.
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Audra Lowe: It seems like most kids would do just about anything to avoid a trip to the hospital, but thanks to an animal assistant therapy program in the Northwest that attitude is changing. Tony has the story in today's Better Parenting. Tony: Here in the pediatric ward of Providence Saint Vincent Medical Center Bonnie is making her rounds. Female Speaker: Bonnie just brings so many smiles. Tony: Bonnie is an animal-assisted therapy dog in the Dove Lewis Animal Hospital. Along with her owner Susan Moore these two team up to make this hospital feel a little less like a hospital. Susan Moore: Before you know it and she'll be up on the bed with them or playing with them and they've forgotten that they're at the hospital. Tony: As a general rule dogs make kids happy. Susan Moore: It isn't just an activity here, it's therapy. Tony: Part of their appeal is their unconditional acceptance. We only see patients, we have no idea what why they're here and Bonnie doesn't care why they're here. All she cares is there are some great kids here. Tony: The Dove Lewis pet-assisted therapy program uses other animals. They have llama, they have cats, but in the hospitals dogs seem to be the perennial favorite. Susan Moore: I think there's a reason we call them therapy dogs, because I think they really do have therapeutic values for kids that here. Tony: During her shift Bonnie stays busy. She could help kids get exercise, motivate them to take their medication or give them something else to think about when it's time to get a shot. Susan Moore: To have a dog to play with or talk to or focus on as opposed to oh, there is a needle, and I am so scared of needles. It makes a huge, huge difference. Tony: But most of all money brings comfort and companionship. Female Speaker: It's so, so simple, but it's huge. The impact that; that can make just in making it more friendly and less stressful environment. Tony: It's pretty simple, dogs make kids smile and here in the hospital, they need all the smells they can get. I am Tony Martinez thanks for watching. Audra Lowe: And if you'd like more information on the Dove Lewis animal-assisted therapy program, log on our website and follow the way.