Hospital Dogs

Paging Dr. Lassie! The newest additions to the Emergency Room come with four paws and a furry coat. The emergency room at Milton S. Hershey Medical Center in Pennsylvania has now incorporated therapy dogs into their treatment for patients.

Every day of the week, volunteers bring in their trained and certified therapy dogs to visit patients.

Therapy dogs bring many helpful and positive elements to the emergency room. Some are:

  • Positivity: Therapy dogs can bring happiness during unease. Even during stressful times, it is hard to not appreciate their wagging tails!
  • Laughter: One volunteer Beagle likes to perform tricks and make people laugh.
  • Comfort: Another therapy dog, Maggie, prefers to simply sit with patients and offer silent companionship. 
  • Calm: Many children who normally can’t remain still during treatment are calmed by the dogs.
  • Touch: Whereas a human touch may bring more stress, petting a dog reduces it.
  • Peace of mind: Patients who feel more at ease can make better medical decisions for themselves or their loved ones.

Of course, staff and volunteers always ask if it’s okay for these pooches to visit—before a patient even sees them. But, bringing a therapy dog into the emergency room makes the environment feel less clinical and more friendly—for everyone.

For more information on this unique emergency room, please visit

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