Dr. Joker at Children's National Medical Center
On Tuesday, November 15, 2005 there was a TV SEGMENT ON ABC Channel 7 WJLA by Medical Reporter, KATHY FOWLER, who featured "Dogs in Hospitals." Spotlighted was one of Greenbelt Dog Training's Special Therapy Dogs who is member of the "Animal Visitation Program" at Children's National Medical Center (Children’s Hospital) in Washington, DC. The dog that was featured in the telecast representing our group of dogs that visits the playrooms several times each month. The segment showed that interaction between patients and therapy dogs improves a patient's overall health.
A four year old adopted Maltese, Joker, was shown greeted by and petted by a nine year old patient in a playroom at Children’s Hospital. Joker also sat on his lap patiently while the young boy stroked his soft, furry coat of white hair. Trick commands were given during the visit by the patient such as, "Turn, turn Joker turn." And, as usual, Joker, stood up on his back legs and turned in circles to the delight of everyone watching him.
Ms Fowler reported, “THIS IS JOKER.... MAYBE HE SHOULD BE CALLED DR. JOKER... BECAUSE THIS ADOPTED MALTESE IS NOW AN ANIMAL ASSISTED THERAPIST THAT SEES AT LEAST 10 PATIENTS A WEEK.”
“RAYNARD HARRIS'S MOTHER SAYS THIS IS THE FIRST TIME HE'S SMILED SINCE BEING AT CHILDREN'S NATIONAL MEDICAL CENTER.”
Terry Orzechowski, Director of the Volunteer Program at CNMC stated : "It makes a huge difference in their day, it makes their stay a little easier.. it makes them feel a lack of pain for a little while and it makes them feel like a kid having fun."
Ms. Fowler stated: “DOCTORS COULD SEE PETS SEEMED TO SOOTHE PATIENTS... BUT THEY WANTED TO KNOW IF THAT TRANSLATED INTO REAL MEDICAL PROGRESS”
”IN A STUDY (by the American Heart Association) 76 PATIENTS HAD 12 MINUTE SESSIONS WITH A VOLUNTEER WITH A DOG AND WITHOUT A DOG... RESEARCHERS METICULOUSLY MEASURED PHYSIOLOGICAL RESPONSES LIKE HEART AND LUNG PRESSURES AND STRESS HORMONE LEVELS IN THE BLOOD”
”THEY FOUND ANXIETY AS MEASURED BY A STANDARD RATING SCALE DROPPED BY 24 PERCENT, STRESS HORMONES DROPPED 10 PERCENT AND HEART PRESSURE DROPPED 10 PERCENT.”
Kathy Fowler continued: “THE PROGRAM IS SO SUCCESSFUL, CHILDREN'S NATIONAL MEDICAL CENTER IS TRYING TO GET THE DOGS IN EVERY WEEK INSTEAD OF TWICE A MONTH.