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Pet therapy helps patients at Palm Beach Gardens Medical Center

The pet therapy program at Palm Beach Gardens Medical Center, Dec. 20, 2022.jpg
Posted at 9:59 AM, Dec 20, 2022

PALM BEACH GARDENS, Fla. — Relief on four legs is making its way into the lives of patients at Palm Beach Gardens Medical Center.

The reactions to seeing a therapy dog walking down the halls is usually always the same, but it still never gets old.

Palm Beach Gardens Medical Center started its pet therapy program this summer and it has since grown to a roster that includes Sienna, Tansy, and Kabota making his rounds on Monday.

"He’s one of our most popular dogs. Everybody knows him throughout the hospital," patient navigator Emily Abbadessa said.

Abbadessa said there’s a long list of pet therapy benefits.

"Lowering blood pressure to decreasing pain. Increasing their social abilities while they’re in the hospital," Abbadessa said.

The best moments with the dogs are the ones that are put into smiles instead of words, helping patients heal.

"Just love and warmth because I have a puppy at home that’s missing me," patient Linda Hamilton said.

"I think this is probably the best therapy that anybody can have, especially if they’re suffering from an illness that’s really debilitating," patient John Cooke said.

Staff at Palm Beach Gardens Medical Center look forward to expanding the program as they get more volunteers and certified dogs in search of belly rubs.