Every week for the past three years, Jan Tennell and her West Highland Terrier named Sophie have been heading off to work. Not to the office, but to the Dixie Regional Medical Center, to bring some unconditional love to the patients passing through there.
Jan has worked for hours training Sophie to be the ideal therapy dog, as happy to accept
a hug and lie quietly as to help lead the way down the hall, inspiring a child to take their
first steps out of bed and around the halls.
Jan brings as much comfort as Sophie brings joy, visiting with patients and offering a sympathetic ear while Sophie brings smiles with her cuteness and her tricks.
Animals have been shown to be helpful in therapy for a number of reasons ... just the action of petting an animal can lower blood pressure and having someone to talk to when you're feeling less than perfect is therapeutic as well. Together Jan and Sophie make a super duo of loving kindness, ready to light up the faces of everyone they come into contact with.
Do you have some free time and a well-behaved furry friend? See if there are hospitals or care homes in your area that need volunteers to help cheer the patients. Just an hour or two of your time can make a world of difference for you and the patients.