Oceanside, CA — When most people think of hospitals they think of sterile exam rooms, doctors and the stress that comes with any health issue. But thanks to a group of four-pawed volunteers, patients at Tri-City Medical Center are having a completely different experience. Tri-City’s Auxiliary has a special Pet Therapy program where a dozen trained and certified “teams” (a handler and a dog) visit patients to ease stress and bring joy during a sometimes difficult time.
One such team is Shar Pauley and her 11 year old Golden Retriever named Calamity Jane, whom herself is a rescue after being shot and having one of her front legs amputated. Another team is Mary Gleisberg and her 11 year old standard Poodle, Prince. Mary’s been a part of the Pet Therapy program since it started seven years ago. She says, “We’ve had patients and family members who have walked me out and said ‘Mary this is the first time my husband has smiled or talked in two days.’ When we bring the dog there it breaks down the stress of being in the hospital. When we can expose a young child to a therapy dog and they’re so excited that they can pet a dog. You can just see the stress melt when a dog walks into the waiting room. The dogs just seem to make people feel better.”