Southeastern Greyhound Club's Pet Therapy ("Patient Paws") program is one in which volunteers bring their dogs to a chosen healthcare facility to provide interaction with the residents or patients. Our volunteers visit the residents in their rooms, in the hallways, and in common recreational areas, practically wherever an encounter can occur. The volunteers assist their Greyhounds in spreading good cheer, tail wags, and warm hugs to all the patients. Join a group near you and make a difference in someone's life!
National studies have confirmed the therapeutic effects of animals upon humans. Pet therapy visitations provide a warm and comforting presence and a relaxing interlude to residents of healthcare facilities. Stroking a pet can aid in relaxation which relieves stress and anxiety and lowers blood pressure. It can also ease the loneliness of the elderly in nursing homes, and help children overcome allergies. Petting also encourages the use of hands and arms thus improving fine motor skills of the elderly and even handicapped children. Residents become more active and responsive both during and after a visit. Our visits offer entertainment and a welcome distraction and provide stimulation to the patients. We often engage in conversations with patients of their lost beloved pets. Patients who may not be friendly to others or to staff often come "out of their shell" when we are present with our dogs.
Click here to read an article from the March 2005 issue of Country Living (Adobe Acrobat Reader is required. Visit Adobe to download the free reader if necessary.) It's not specific to Greyhounds but definitely is a tribute to pet therapy in general. And here is a perfect pet therapy story.
Greyhounds are perfect therapy dogs due to their outgoing and friendly nature, gentle and docile disposition, and quiet demeanor. Their height makes them easily accessible to those confined to a hospital bed or those in wheelchairs. Our dogs work as a team, searching out the next resident to visit and to provide their love to. Their reward is simple...a rub on the head, ear scratches, some "baby talk"...or even a biscuit! Yes, some patients even have their own stash specifically for our pups and they absolutely love it!
Greyhounds were also used as therapy dogs immediately after 9/11 providing comfort to the many rescue workers and the many families waiting to hear news regarding their loved ones near Ground Zero. And they are used in countless other settings--children’s hospitals, burn clinics, Alzheimer care facilities, assisted living facilities, VA hospitals...you name it, they’ve been there!
As representatives of SEGC we provide a service to the residential healthcare facilities that we visit. We must follow the rules and regulations set forth by each individual establishment that we visit.
Patient confidentiality is maintained at all times. Our therapy dogs must be current on all immunizations and records must be provided to each location that we visit. They also must be clean and well-groomed.
Characteristics of good therapy dogs include the willingness to approach people, being well-behaved around people and other dogs, and being calm, tolerant and friendly.
We have several residential healthcare facilities in Atlanta and surrounding areas that we visit on a regular basis. Dates and times of our visits are included in our calendar. If you attend a visit, when arriving at your location for the first time, always take with you a copy of your dog's vaccination records and let the host know to expect you. We will also occasionally visit area children's hospitals. Special outings will be announced on the SEGC Facebook group and be included on the events calendar.
If you have any questions, please feel free to contact SEGC.