On Tuesday, December 8, Scotty the Therapy Dog made his second visit to Oak Point to spend time with students before their final exams. Scotty’s first visit to Oak Point took place on Monday, November 23, when he interacted with students, faculty and staff for an hour-long introduction. Scotty will continue to make frequent visits to Oak Point to give everyone an opportunity to reap the benefits that therapy dogs have proven to provide, including stress relief.
There are a variety of ways in which pet therapy has been shown be beneficial. Studies show that interaction with animals promotes positive mood and reduction of depression, reduces fear and anxiety and promotes calmness, and improves pain management, among others (Hediger & Beetz, 2015). A variety of medical facilities use therapy dogs to assist with patients, but there are also others who benefit from their presence. Oak Point’s own, Professor Susanne DeFabiis, EdD, MS, RNBC, LCPC conducted a research study, Behavioral Health Staff’s Perceptions of Pet-Assisted Therapy An Exploratory Study, which assessed the impact of pet-assisted therapy on the well-being of behavioral health staff. She found that “the use of pet-assisted therapy had a positive impact on the staff and patients and it was viewed as innovative and therapeutic.” And it increased the self-awareness and morale of the nursing staff who held stressful jobs (Rossetti & DeFabiis, 2008).
Scotty is a seven year-old Golden Retriever and certified therapy dog. Scotty and his owner, Oak Point Professor Kathleen Muglia, DNP, APN, CPNP-BC, completed two training programs and now hope to continue to visit patients, Oak Point students and even high-school students in the community. Scotty is next scheduled to visit Resurrection College Prep High School on February 11, 2016.
Follow Scotty on Twitter @ScottyMuglia and find out when he’ll be on campus next!
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