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Therapy Dogs Bring Joy to Patients at GAMC


Sometimes the best medicine can be a furry-tailed dose of goodness that can make a patient feel better. Doctors have known about the value of therapy pets in hospitals for many years, and patients and family members are a testament to their influence.

Glendale Adventist Medical Center’s popular pet therapy program offers patients the ability to interact with certified and trained therapy dogs. “Our pet therapy program is really an example of what good can come to our patients when departments collaborate with one another,” explains Heather Ward, adjunctive therapy coordinator.

GAMC has partnered with Therapy Dogs International to bring the program to patients. Therapy dogs must have a stable temperament and loving nature. They complete basic obedience training to ensure that they will react appropriately in a hospital environment. The dogs are examined to meet health criteria and are kept well-groomed and clean.

“Pet therapy has been a great addition to our rehabilitation program,” explains Jan Adduci, pet therapy coordinator. “These amazing dogs provide something very special to enhance the health and well-being of our patients. When the dogs enter the facility, patients’ faces light up. The patients benefit greatly from the unconditional love and acceptance provided by the dogs.”

Pet therapy is a goal-directed intervention in which an animal meeting specific criteria is an integral part of the treatment process. The therapy is designed to promote improvement in human physical, social, emotional or cognitive function. Pet therapy is provided in a variety of settings, and may be group or individual in nature. The process is documented and evaluated. To learn more about the pet therapy program at GAMC, call (818) 409-8071.