Our Dogs Lift Spirits

IN HEALTHCARE SETTINGS

It’s clear based on the behavior of dogs that they in fact sense pain and the emotional state of the people they meet; therapy dogs interact with patients in ways that humans cannot.
— Joyce Rivas, Director of Roxy Pediatric Comfort Program at Doylestown Health

Doylestown Health

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Program Description

Drawing from a long history of providing comfort to area children, Roxy™ Therapy Dogs has developed an exclusive partnership with Doylestown Health to bring support and smiles to pediatric patients at The Della Penna Pediatric Center at Doylestown Hospital, a six-bed unit that serves infants, children and adolescents with respiratory complications, orthopedic injuries, and other medical issues that require inpatient care. In addition, Roxy therapy dogs spend time with children who come to Doylestown Hospital for medical testing or to visit family or friends.

The mission of the Doylestown Health's Animal Assisted Activity program is joy. Roxy™ therapy dog teams lift the spirits of Doylestown Health patients, visitors and associates through interaction with qualified dogs. 

Roxy Therapy Dogs is the first and only organization selected to provide canine comfort through their Pediatric Comfort program in the hospital’s pediatric center. The hospital administration reached out to Roxy as an organization that had experienced volunteers with a great reputation working with children in other settings.

Volunteer teams consisting of a certified therapy dog with their owner/handler along with a hospital volunteer are highly trained to provide calm, supportive company to patients and their families.

Benefits to the Children

Get Healthy, Get a Dog The Health Benefits of Canine Companionship , A Harvard Medical School Special Health Report 2014,  describes the benefits of animal interactions:

“Animal-assisted therapy dogs are trained to provide companionship and comfort to people in hospitals — to distract them from pain and worry about their illness, for instance, and to relieve boredom and boost their mood.”

  • Interacting with dogs is calming for humans (and for dogs)
  • Decreases release of stress hormone cortisol
  • Lowers stress-related increases in heart rate & blood pressure
  • People report less fear and anxiety when petting a dog
  • Petting a dog leads to release of oxytocin, hormone and brain chemical secreted by the pituitary gland during social bonding
  • Dogs can reduce feelings of isolation and loneliness

Location

The Carol and Louis Della Penna Pediatric Center, Doylestown Hospital, Doylestown, PA

Director

Joyce Rivas, Director of Roxy Pediatric Comfort Program at Doylestown Health  

Pedia Manor

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Program Description

Roxy Therapy Dogs’ visits to Pedia Manor group homes provide a fun, welcome distraction to medically fragile children with chronic health issues. The excitement begins the moment our teams arrive. Many children reside in these homes long-term so they really look forward to our weekly visits as a special treat and a positive distraction. Working alongside the skilled, compassionate pediatric caregivers, Roxy volunteer teams set out to make each child’s day as comfortable and as enjoyable as possible.

As each child’s situation at Pedia Manor is unique, our therapy teams visit children individually and cater the visit to the individual needs and wishes of every child. Some children are able to get up and play with the dogs while some are content to sit on a volunteer's lap. Others are ventilator and/or feeding tube-dependent and reply upon Pedia Manor’s skilled pediatric caregivers for help with movement. The dogs will lay patiently while the staff reposition the children to help them pet the dogs.

No matter what illnesses or conditions these children suffer from, they always manage to give our teams a smile and let them know how much they love our visits.

Benefits to the Children

  • Slower heart rate
  • Lower anxiety
  • Increased oxytocin (feel-good hormone) levels
  • Improved social skills

Location

Pedia Manor has two houses in Pipersville and three in Quakertown.

Director

Tracey VazquezDirector of Roxy Pediatric Comfort Program at Pedia Manor 

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I cannot communicate how blessed we are to have the dogs visiting our children. Even some of our most medically compromised children, who rarely respond to most stimuli, have been seen smiling and calming during their interactions with the dogs. Your volunteers have hearts of gold.
— GRETCHEN DUFFY, CERTIFIED CHILD LIFE SPECIALIST, PEDIA MANOR
 

Learn About Our Other Programs

Elementary School Reading Inspiration

Student Specialized Support

Secondary School Stress Relief

Courthouse Companionship

Meet Our Roxy Dogs