DANBURY, Conn. -- When she saw her new patient was in pain, nurse Sophie knew exactly what to do. She rested beside the bed, allowing him to stroke her fur for nearly an hour. This isn't the typical nurse treatment, but that's because Sophie isn't your typical nurse.
Sophie’s owner, and fellow hospice volunteer, Antonio Muñoz is in awe of his lovable pet’s uncanny ability to soothe those in need. “She just knows when someone needs her help,” said Muñoz.
Sophie and the other Pet Partner Volunteers greet everyone they meet with a nuzzle and a wagging tail, spreading warmth and cheer throughout the Center for Comfort Care and Healing.
But make no mistake, being a Pet Partner is not an easy job. RHHC’s animal therapy dogs are certified to meet rigorous training standards by organizations such as the Delta Society, Therapy Dogs International and Ridgefield Operation for Animal Rescue. Pet owners, also known as handlers, must also complete volunteer training, as their presence and support is just as valuable to the patients they visit. The benefits of animal therapy have been well-researched and include pain reduction, stress relief, emotional support and more.
To learn more about how pets are helping patients at Regional Hospice and Home Care, visit their website.