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A Patient’s Best Friend

When a patient with a therapy dog is admitted to Central Texas Medical Center, the staff work together to take great care of both her and her pet.

2/1/2018  |  By Adventist Health System

We had a patient on Central Texas Medical Center’s medical/surgical unit who was dealing with serious medical and psychological problems. She was also homeless, and had every belonging she owned with her on the unit. Also with her was her therapy dog, Ginger, who was very important to her. Whenever the patient tried to harm herself because of stress or anxiety, Ginger would calm her down.

Of course, our patient was unable to watch over Ginger or take her outside while she was hospitalized, so our staff stepped up and took amazing care of both the dog and the owner. We made sure Ginger had enough food and water, and took her on several walks each day. Even staff from other areas would use their breaks to come up and take Ginger on a walk.

When it came time for our patient to be moved to another facility, she became really upset when she learned she couldn’t take her dog with her. Instead of calling animal control services, again our staff stepped up and arranged for Ginger to be taken to a veterinary facility in Austin. This was such a relief to our patient who, even after being discharged, called us several times to thank us and express her gratefulness.