On Tuesday, July 21, Baylor Regional Medical Center at Plano held its first Dog Days of Summer Parade, which featured 21 dogs in their best summer outfit of the day. You could see the excitement in all these animal assisted therapy volunteers as they walked in with leashes in hand.
The dogs too couldn’t resist planting slobbery kisses on all of us.
Thanks to all our volunteers, Environmental Services, and Nutrition Services, the room was fantastic with brightly colored decorations on every inch of the walls, complemented by a mouth-watering menu.
City of Plano Mayor Harry LaRosiliere attended the event and declared the day Plano Animal Assisted Therapy Appreciation Day. The reactions on the dog owners’ faces were priceless — a perfect mix of amazement and joy.
The Baylor Scott & White Health Animal Assisted Therapy program started in 1985 with a sheltie named Dusty and has since grown to an astonishing 98 participating volunteers and more than 100 therapy animals.
Sometimes, even more so than the patients themselves, hospital staff expresses the utmost gratitude when they see a dog stride in the door.
“Dogs are always happy,” said a nurse on the medical staff at Baylor Plano. “Their presence at this hospital is what makes many patients love staying here at Baylor.”
Animal assisted therapy has significant benefits, promoting positive changes in both physical and mental health. Interaction with these friendly pets has been proven to lower blood pressure, improve cardiovascular health, reduce anxiety, improve recovery time, and most of all, provide comfort.
These pups are not only a man’s best friend but also a patient’s best friend. They may not hold a medical degree, but they sure know how to help the healing process in a unique, loving way.
This blog post was contributed by Aakriti Gaur, an intern on staff at Baylor Regional Medical Center at Plano.