Therapy dogs provide comfort, love at hospice facility

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KMBC | April 18, 2016

Canines help patients, families during emotional times

KANSAS CITY, Mo. —A new team of “DOCs” is providing specialized care to families in the Kansas City metropolitan area.

DOC stands for Dogs on Call, therapy canines ready to offer comfort during difficult times, day or night.

Molly, a trained therapy dog, works with people at Saint Luke’s Hospice House. She’s on call 24 hours a day, offering comfort to end-of-life patients and their families.

“When she goes into a room, she can tell who needs the therapy, and it may not be the patient that asked or the nurse who called,” said Alexis Martin of Pets for Life.

“She’ll see someone sitting in a corner and that’s where she goes and plops down.”
Family members said they’re grateful for the Dogs on Call program.

“We just came in this morning to be with her and right away, Molly came in and provided this calm and peace for us,” said Bill Nimke, a patient’s family member. “It was invaluable. (It’s) hard to put into words.”

Saint Luke’s started the 24-7 therapy program with Molly a year ago. It has since added three more teams, including Roxi, who is small enough to sit on laps when she’s invited.

“You have a child who’s not really sure what’s going on in the room and is upset and Molly sits down with them and they start touching her and the tears stop,” said Martin.

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