The dogs in this video help patients recover from addictions. Irish, Toby, and Kerry are an integral part of some patients’ recovery at the Betty Ford Center. Irish is the Golden Retriever. Toby and Kerry are the Cavalier King Charles spaniels, who are part of the therapy sessions. They sit on the laps of patients while they are sharing in group. They are intuitive to the emotional needs of the patients.
Irish works a full work week, then go home with one of the counselors for the weekend and get the weekend off. While at work, Irish would play with the patients, who may play ball with him, or let him carry a towel to them. He just loves hanging out at the gym. One of the patients were suffering from the shakes. Irish just lies nearby. The patient reaches out to pet him, and calms right down from that interaction.
How therapy dogs help patients
According to the Butler Center for Research, having a dog especially at an initial therapy session helps the patient to feel less anxious about the environment and about the verbal communication. It’s easier to start a conversation when we are talking about our pets. It brings a smile to our face, and from there, it’s easier to build rapport for the therapy.
Touching a therapy dog feels reassuring to patients
Sometimes during a therapy session, the patient may benefit from a reassuring touch. However, there are professional guidelines around touching. So a therapy dog is great in this situation. The touch is initiated by the patient. Dogs offer no judgment, and are unconditional love. This goes a long way in feeling good about oneself again. There are higher success rate in staying on the treatment program during the stay at the center as well as after the patient leaves. You can read more about this topic here.
This video allows us to appreciate even more the service and love that our dogs offer us.
Article source: Butler Center for Research