COOPERSTOWN – Four new names are about to become well known around Bassett Hospital. Zoya and Penny, both golden retrievers, Jax (full name Crackerjax), an Australian shepherd, and Romeo, a border collie, are all part of Bassett’s new pet therapy program, and they are all looking to bring a smile to a patient’s face.
Dr. Marina Bravin, a dermatologist at Bassett and owner of Zoya, worked to bring pet therapy to Bassett after witnessing her mother’s own experience. “I always thought it would be a fun thing to do,” she said. “My mom was a patient at a hospital where they had a pet therapy program. I saw how well she responded and I wanted to bring the same program here.” Bravin had the full support of Bassett’s leadership, who find the evidence regarding the benefits of pet therapy encouraging.
Researchers have been collecting information to confirm the benefits of hospitalized patients visiting with licensed therapy dogs. It has been documented that interaction with pets can help reduce a patient’s pain and improve his or her well being, as well as lower blood pressure, promote relaxation, relieve agitation, anxiety and stress, and improve communication.