Banner Wyoming Medical Center brings back therapy dog program

Charlie (L) and Linda (R) interact with their dogs Chase and Emma
Charlie (L) and Linda (R) interact with their dogs Chase and Emma(Bobbee Russell)
Published: Jul. 22, 2021 at 5:35 PM CDT
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CASPER, Wyo. (Wyoming News Now) - Banner Wyoming Medical Center paused the therapy dog program to prevent the spread of COVID-19 but has recently brought it back.

“I’ve seen nurses coming down the hallway saying the dogs are back,” said Linda Clark, a Banner Wyoming Medical Center volunteer. The volunteers can’t go into patient rooms like they used to do, but they can interact with others in common areas of the hospital. “They came out into the hallway to see us and we had one gentleman who was so fast we didn’t get him a chair because he was so happy to see the dog,” Clark said.

These dogs have to be certified to interact with people at WMC. Clark said the owners also have to be comfortable talking to patients and comfortable being in a hospital.

“The dog and the person get tested. Some people can’t take a hospital setting,” said Charlie Vogel, a WMC Volunteer. Being able to provide some relief for patients and staff during difficult times keeps these volunteers going. “Some people just start smiling especially if they are stressed or their family is going through a difficult diagnosis,” said Vogel.

Seeing the people feel better makes Clark feel better too. “If I have a bad day at work I come here and it’s amazing how it changes me,” Clark said.

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