Therapy pups bring comfort to UMMC patients

Therapy pups bring comfort to UMMC patients

JACKSON, Miss. (WLBT) - Therapy dogs are making strides towards bringing joy to the patients and staff at the University of Mississippi Medical Center.

The idea, to help people cope in a high stress environment.

These pups prove connecting with a furry friend is some of the best medicine you can find.

“Everyone loves a therapy visit from these dogs. I have yet to meet anyone who didn’t love it. Everybody really enjoys it and it is for everyone.”

From a rescue pup to now one of the most popular staff members at UMMC, BLizzard is healing the hearts of patients.

Blizzard is one of the eight therapy dogs that walk the halls of UMMC with one goal in mind, bringing patients joy and comfort during difficult times.

“Pet therapy has been proven to lower blood pressure, decrease anxiety, promotes healing, relaxation. We want all of those things here in the hospital. That’s what we are here for... to help heal people.”

Hillary Basden, the program manager for patient experience, says pet therapy is not only for the patients but staff too.

“Our staff do an exceptional job day in and day out in a high stress environment and where stakes are high. So, to be able to give them a little five minute break it just makes all the difference in the world.”

“Oh people love him. He is very popular around here.”

From the moment Jeff Wall rescued Blizzard, he knew he was something special.

“He is very high energy, extremely intelligent, almost scary smart. He knows in this environment when the vest goes on it is time to work. He knows he has to be mild, friendly and gentle with everyone!”

Wall says regardless of your age or how sick you are, pet therapy is for everyone.

“Dogs can break through to people in a way that humans can’t and we see that here every time.”

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