Sign In

Therapy Dogs Visit Hospital

December 17, 2020

Since 1991, Happy Tails Pet Therapy dogs have been a frequent and welcome sight across Atlanta, in nursing homes, schools and hospitals.

However, when COVID-19 hit, all that stopped. Nine months later, the visits have finally resumed at Piedmont Hospital — for the staff.

“To have them here and their fuzzy faces, it just brings back a smile that you don’t have sometimes during these times of the pandemic,” said Sharon Eaton, a staff member at Piedmont Hospital.

“I did a happy dance, I was so excited,” Eaton said.

Happy Tails volunteer, Jerry Coker, said it’s not just the humans who are excited. He said the time spent apart was also hard on the dogs, like his Golden Retriever, Norma-Jean.

“This is what she loves to do — interact with people and give them some happiness,” Coker said.

While these visits will still follow guidelines, like staying outside and the volunteers and staff are wearing masks, there’s no hiding the joy that is now returning to the hospital staff and the dogs.

“It’s a diversion. It helps you get a respite and regroup and there are a lot of unhappy things going on here right now,” said staff member Mark Galvin. “They really bring such joy to everybody here.”

While there’s no way to know when the dogs will be allowed back inside the hospital, they hope to continue to schedule these outside visits with the staff until that time.

Register Your Dog

  • Most Recent News

    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

    The Right Rescue Dog

    If your New Year’s resolution is to add a canine family member, good for you. Somewhere out there is the perfect puppy or adult dog for your family. You have a lot of things to think about when you begin to look for that new family member, puppy or dog? Large or small? Purebred or […]

    Read more