Facility Service Dog
School, Funeral, Court, Medical Facility
The dogs are trained to maintain a calm and polite attitude while at work and to perform certain behaviors while interacting with a variety of people under all sorts of situations.
How can a Facility Dog help?
Comfort and emotional support
The therapeutic roles of a facility dog:
Client/Patient motivation: The dog offers unconditional love and nonjudgmental interactions. The Patient/Client and the dog can engage in physical activities set by the therapist. The dog can also be used as a reward for completing a task. The session becomes more fun, pleasurable and therefore, more productive.
Emotional support: Under the guidance of the facilitator, the dog can help soothe a person going through a difficult time. Dogs are trained to place their head on the person's lap as a calming gesture or to get on the person's lap or body, applying pressure and warmth. In healthcare or dental clinic, the dog can lie next to a person going through a procedure and reassure and distract from the discomfort.
Functional outcomes: In a rehabilitation or psychiatric clinic, through interactions with the dog such as grooming, playing fetch or feeding, patients can improve their physical and/or life skills. The dog can be used to promote range of motion, balance, coordination, strength, visual and cognitive skills.
Social interaction: A facility dog can help a child open up and share secrets too difficult to tell an adult. In a courtroom, a dog could help the child feel safe and stay calm while testifying.
Provide reassurance and tactile stimulation. In an educational setting, a dog might be used as a teaching tool in school and encourage a child to read.
Stress reducer: A dog can sit next to a child who is crying or anxious about a situation. In a waiting room, just by laying close to a person, the dog can offer a reassuring and distracting presence.
"The families in the waiting room can be even more nervous than the patient in the chair. Pearly then will spend time there too, keeping siblings and parents who are waiting entertained and engaged instead of thinking about the procedure going on in the operatory.
“A lot of times, I feel that it makes the parent feel just as relieved as the child when she comes into the room,” said Pratt. “And the adults seem just as excited about her.”