Wag Therapy at Good Samaritan: Dogs Make Us Happier, Speed Up Healing

January 24, 2018

KEARNEY— The Animal Assisted Therapy program at CHI Health Good Samaritan is hosting “Wag Therapy” starting at 11 a.m. until 1 p.m. on Tuesday, January 30. Visitors are invited to drop by the hospitals revolving door lobby to interact with these four-legged good Samaritans and their humans. Recently celebrating its 25th year, the volunteer-staffed program provides a welcome distraction from stress and anxiety to patients, staff and hospital visitors free of charge.

Health benefits of Pet Therapy:

  • It wasn’t until 1980 that an early study found heart attack patients who owned pets lived longer than those who didn’t, suggesting they provided motivation for a patient to recover faster.
  • Other researchers soon found petting your own dog could reduce your blood pressure.
  • It’s since been shown pets can lessen depression and anxiety, decrease feelings of loneliness and even help dementia patients recover memories of their own dogs.
  • Studies now show that interacting with animals increases the hormone oxytocin, which makes us feel happier. It also can help the body heal.