Therapy...on four legs
The Flushing Hospital Therapy Dogs have a very important job, spreading joy throughout Hurley and 11 other centers.
The mission is simple for these dogs: Create smiles in stressful moments.
(billy joe simms/hurley patient)
"To me they just like humans, but they can't talk," says Hurley patient, Billy Joe Simms.
Billy Joe has spent over a week in-patient at the hospital. He says these four-legged therapists make it feel more like home.
"My son have dogs and he have two little dogs like this."
Joyce Ward runs a training program that prepares dogs for this important work, "They learn enough to pass an AKC test and then they get certified. "
Therapy dogs go through a lot of practice to prepare for hospital work, Joyce says, "Our practice area are nursing homes. That's where we get our practice with wheel chairs and the smells and that type of thing, because it is very important that our dogs don't react to anything."
Joyce has been making the rounds with therapy dogs since 1992. She says the patient's reactions make all of the training and work worth it, "When they see the dogs, they just smile. Young people, old people- it doesn't matter. Teenagers- they actually get off their phones to see the dogs."
Find out how your dog can train to become a therapy dog here.