Wellness Wednesday: How pets are helping patients heal

Posted at 7:54 PM, Jan 08, 2020

MURRAY, Utah - Spending time in the hospital can be tough on a patient's spirit. That is why Intermountain Healthcare is using the power of pups to cheer up patients and improve the healing process.

When the dogs make their rounds through the hospital corridor, it's hard not to perk up.

"They smile, they like to see a dog. It just changes their whole attitude, their whole demeanor, everything," said  18-year volunteer Susan Daynes.

Daynes began volunteering as a way of give back to Intermountain LDS Hospital after her son was paralyzed during an accident at Lake Powell and spent time in the Rehab unit. She's now racked up over 4,715 volunteer hours.

"I think it makes a huge difference for the rehab patients to have an animal," Daynes said. "It makes their therapy go faster, they stand longer, they walk further."

Pet therapy comforts patients and helps brighten spirits. The visit calms family members and soothes staff dealing with the pressures of the job. Dogs bring smiles to those who love animals, and research shows animals may even lower people’s blood pressure.