Aspen Valley Hospital's Pet Therapy Program was initiated by Rita Cohen, RN, in 2001. Today, 16 different dogs visit Aspen Valley Hospital patients on a regular basis. The dogs' demographics range from young to old, large to small, and from rescued mixed breeds to purebreds. But they all share some important characteristics: good health, mellow temperaments, excellent manners, and a love of people.
While most patients enjoy a visit from a canine therapist — most of them miss their own pets while hospitalized — those who wish to pass can simply opt out of the visit. The benefits for those who enjoy dogs, a lower blood pressure, less stress, distraction from pain and discomfort, and a general sense of wellbeing, can be expected. And for staff, the PET therapists are a welcome sight. "The dogs make every day a little brighter. They enjoy all the attention, and they return the favor with sweetness and love," said one employee.
For more information about the PET program, check out this article in the Aspen Times: Healing paws: Aspen Valley Hospital’s therapy dogs
. You may also call 970.544.1296.