Sign In

Therapy Dogs Missing Human Interaction

May 19, 2020

Just like many humans are missing social-interaction right now, therapy dogs are also feeling a little lonely. Some local hospitals have had visitor restrictions in-place since mid-March, unfortunately, it’s times like these where furry friends are particularly needed.

“If I take him for a ride and we drive by a hospital, he gets all squirmy and he thinks we’re going to the hospital and we’re not and he really feels bad when we pass the hospital. You can tell how he acts,” said Bob Feuer, owner of a therapy dog named Teddy. Teddy has been a therapy dog for at least 10 years.

Social-distancing laws are taking a toll on everyone but for therapy dogs like Teddy, interacting with others to brighten someone’s day is all he knows.

“Currently we’re not allowed to go into any facility, whether it be a nursing home, hospital, anything,” said Feuer. “It’s just too much of a chance of one of us catching it and they’re not sure if the dogs can transmit it.”

Teddy would visit hospitals every Monday through Friday before the pandemic. IU Health Nurse Stefanie Ridoutt, who’s currently working the COVID-19 floor, said many hospital workers are feeling the difference of not having these dogs around.

“They’re just as helpful to the staff as they are to the patients,” said Ridoutt. “There’s a lot of sadness that can happen between these walls you know, they just brighten everyone’s day.”

Caroline Hanson’s therapy dog Henry has been visiting local hospitals for four years. But as her dog is feeling these social distancing effects, so is she.

“I really miss it,” said Hanson. “The interactions with people and watching my dog bring smiles to people’s faces is really amazing.”

Feuer is worried about the long-term effects this distancing could have on therapy dogs. Right now he’s looking into temporary solutions.

“Maybe even get the dogs in our cars with the windows up and maybe drive around the hospital so maybe nurses and all can see the dogs, that might help a little bit,” said Feuer. “It’s not the same thing as being able to give a pet and everything but if there’s something we could do in the meantime we’d love to do it.”

Register Your Dog

  • Most Recent News

    Former Victoria man’s diabetic alert dog helps him get back to life

    When Luke Hengen’s diabetes worsened in his early twenties, it stripped him of the outdoor activities where the country kid felt at home. Countless wilderness adventures and years of hard-fought football games took a toll on his body, to the point where he could no longer sense when his blood sugar was too high or […]

    Read more

    Students Get Therapy Dog

    When middle school students return to class on Jan. 11, they’ll find a new face at the door: Daisy. Daisy is a therapy dog and the personal pet of Rob Kreger, principal of the Rock L. Butler Middle School. The five-year-old golden retriever is not a school pet or mascot, but rather a working dog […]

    Read more

    Therapy Dogtor

    Last March, Caroline Benzel, a third-year medical student, began to notice the stress and discomfort her nurse friends were feeling from the pressures of the ongoing Covid-19 pandemic. “[Personal protective equipment] can be really rough on the skin,” Benzel, 31, tells PEOPLE. Benzel and her 3-year-old Rottweiler, Loki (who’s also a therapy dog) hatched a […]

    Read more

    Therapy Dog Pups

    When Stanley the miniature fox terrier’s owner passed away, the little dog started a ‘paw-some’ new role – bringing puppy love to some of the Gold Coast’s oldest residents. After Carinity Cedarbrook Diversional Therapist Julianne Staff adopted Stanley, he began visiting the aged care community at Mudgeeraba as a therapy dog. Therapy dogs help to […]

    Read more

    Puppy Cams

    A nonprofit is providing an unusual form of therapy for those on the front lines of the coronavirus pandemic – puppy cams! “You spend five minutes with a puppy and try not to smile,” said registered nurse Robin Lingg Lagrone. Lingg Lagrone says watching little furballs wag their tails and prance on their paws helps […]

    Read more

    Pet Committee

    When Moore County’s school doors were abruptly closed earlier in 2020, two- and four-legged volunteers from the Moore County Citizens’ Pet Responsibility Committee (PRC) were in their 12th year of presenting a six-session Pet Responsibility Education Program for fourth-graders. The PRC quickly shifted gears and placed its program materials online as part of a home […]

    Read more