Wyoming Medical Center welcomes therapy dogs for patients and families

By Mary Facciani Mar 7, 2018

Registered therapy dog, Annie, visits NERD Health and Wellness Center massage therapist Tessa Glinskey between clients on Wednesday. Annie's handler, Charlie Vogel, is seated behind them.

Wyoming Medical Center is excited to begin a dog therapy program for all patients, family members, visitors and employees.  

Registered therapy dog handler Tomi Cox poses with Takota-Shay.

We have two dogs to start, Takota-Shay and Annie, who can be spotted with their owners throughout the hospital.

Both Takota-Shay and Annie are registered therapy dogs, and both their owners are certified handlers. The pet therapy program is run through the NERD Health and Wellness Center and our Volunteer Services department.

We are looking for more four-legged friends to help individuals heal, both mentally and physically. To be considered, dogs and their handlers must be registered and must pass an evaluation process. Dogs must be friendly, at least one year old, have proof of vaccinations and be free of disease, as verified by their veterinarian. Dogs must be leashed all time.

Handlers will be tested by Charlie Vogel, owner of Annie and an official observer with the Alliance of Therapy Dogs. The test includes basic handling skills and supervised visits.  After successfully completing the supervised visits, you will need to complete the Alliance of Therapy Dogs (ATD) membership process annually. Handlers will also be Wyoming Medical Center volunteers and will have to go through our volunteer application process.

“The WMC Volunteer Services Department is excited to support such a great therapeutic program that will benefit many and provide another service to enhance our community’s overall well-being," said Lisa Johnson, volunteer coordinator at Wyoming Medical Center.

Dogs will visit patients, families and employees throughout the hospital. Patients can request visits through the Wellness Center.

Anyone can benefit from dog therapy.  Evidence suggests that pet therapy can not only help heal patients and their families, it can help heal our healers too. 

MARY FACCIANI

Mary Facciani is director of population health and the NERD Health and Wellness Center at Wyoming Medical Center. 

Learn more

  • For more information or to become a registered dog therapy handler, call (307) 577-2931.
  • Learn more about becoming a WMC volunteer here.