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Canine Companions: Therapy Dogs Bring Happiness at Concordia

January 14, 2014
Cabot Activities resident dog Molly all dressed up for the day! Cabot Activities resident dog Molly all dressed up for the day!

Did you know today is National Dress Your Pet Day? How funny! So we thought the following would be appropriate. Below is a story published in a previous issue of Faith in Caring magazine on how therapy dogs and pet visits can make a major impact on many residents and patients at Concordia. To be added to the mailing list or e-mail distribution list, e-mail us here or call the Concordia Public Relations Department at 724.352.1571, ext. 8266. Enjoy, and feel free to leave a comment below!

For almost as long as man has chronicled history, a canine companion has remained faithfully by his side, and pop culture has continued that love affair with our four-legged friends. From Rin Tin Tin to Lassie, Benji to Snoopy and every Toto in between, dogs have been making their human counterparts a little happier for years.

And that's something that doesn't seem to change with age… according to droves of residents and patients at Concordia, anyway.

On any given day, there are dozens of therapy dogs - some Therapy Dog International-certified, some therapeutic in presence only - visiting people throughout the Concordia system. According to Katherine Scott, DVM, DACVIM, in an article on WebMD, with each visit comes a laundry list of health benefits:

  • Lower cortisol levels, a hormone associated with stress
  • Increased serotonin, a chemical associated with wellbeing
  • Potentially lower blood pressure and heart rate
  • Calming, anti-depressive effect
  • Increased interaction, which contributes to a healthy mind
  • Rebuilding strength through petting, while recovering from a stroke or other illness.
  • Clearly, the holistic health benefits of animals are well documented. But what's hard to measure, is the healing power of happiness.

Meet a couple of the dogs who bring a little joy to patients and residents. Viewer discretion is advised: Due to the adorable nature of the following content, Concordia cannot be held responsible for any excited squeals, fits of joy or extemporaneous pet adoptions.

We'll call them the fido files. (Click on the photos to enlarge)

Clancy outsideName: Clancy

Age: Two years old

Breed: Golden Retriever

Certifications: American Kennel Club, Therapy Dogs International, Golden Retrievers Club

Fun Facts:Been visiting Concordia of Franklin Park since 2012. Clancy loves playing in the water and fetching ducks. His owner can't say the word "bank" around him or he gets excited - every time he's there the tellers give him treats! "You should see the smiles on everyone's face when Clancy and other dogs come around. It makes me feel like a dog myself - not a care in the world!" - Dan Geti, personal care, Concordia of Franklin Park

Baker outsideName: Baker

Age: 10 years old

Breed: Cocker Spaniel

Certifications: Continental Kennel Club, Therapy Dogs International

Fun Facts:Been visiting Concordia of the South Hills since 2002. Baker loves getting cake at the residents' monthly birthday celebrations and knows how the automatic doors of the community work to let himself out to use the bathroom. He's famous too - Baker once appeared in Mt. Lebanon Magazine for an article on therapy dogs! "Baker is like everyone's adopted pet here. He's so loving and doesn't show partiality… And being a therapy dog, he's just so good with everyone." - Jean Grabow, independent living, Concordia of the South Hills

Pepper insideName: Pepper

Age: 11 years old

Breed: Bischon Frise

Certifications: American Kennel Club, Therapy Dogs International

Fun Facts: Been visiting Concordia at Ridgewood Place since 2002. Pepper is non-hypoallergenic and loves cheese. He has amassed over 250 documented visits, knows approximately 250 words and can carry out 12 commands!

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For many seniors, one major reason for considering a move to a senior care community is to be around others who have similar interests and make a new network of friends. All of Concordia's personal care and retirement living locations offer a full schedule of activities for our residents to enjoy, if they choose to do so. For general information on Concordia services, call 724-352-1571 or e-mail us here.

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