The Physical Medicine and Rehabilitation Department at University Hospital offers a unique program that uses animals to assist in therapy provided by certified therapeutic recreational specialists.
The specially trained animals and their handlers are volunteers through the Sunshine Friend's Inc. They work with the Physical Medicine and Rehabilitation recreational specialists in providing therapy that helps healing of the mind, body and spirit.
The dog's natural desire to give love and acceptance, and their drive to please encourages the patients to work harder in therapy. Patients concentrate on how they can interact with the dog and have fun. Using dogs is a way to include families in the therapy sessions.
"My son showed much more enthusiasm about moving, and the pet showed a means to an end. If he wanted to pet the dog, he had to move his arm to do it."
"Working with the dogs made me think about how to lean forward without losing my balance and it brightened my day!"
"Having dogs in therapy is a wonderful and rewarding experience for both family and patients."