Therapy dog provides comfort for children visiting the dentist

December 17, 2012

Even adults will admit that they fear visiting the dentist. There is something about using sharp tools to clean the inside of a sensititve mouth that makes us all cringe.

In this inspiring story, a pediatric dentist from New York finds a way to calm those fears.

Every Thursday morning, Dr. Paul Weiss' patients are greeted with a warm and fuzzy reception when they arrive for their visits at his pediatric dental office in Williamsville, New York.

Brooke, a four year-old Goldren Retriever is one of Weiss' newest staff members, acting as a therapy dog for children nervous about getting their teeth worked on.

Brooke works in the reception area with her handler, offering and receiving lots of affection and hugs while playing fetch with her favorite toys. However, if a child is afraid to get his/her teeth cleaned, Brooke will sit next to them on the chair during the cleaning allowing the child to pet her or keep a hand on her.

Like all therapy dogs, Brooke was required to pass a training program and evaluation to be allowed to work in the office. She mastered basic obedience and proved she is able to accept common medical appliances, clumsy handling (petting) and various distractions.

"Therapy dogs have been known to ease tensions, lower blood pressure and increase positive attitudes. Traditionally, their services are utilized in hospitals, schools, and retirement homes. Knowing Brooke’s temperament, Dr. Paul recognized an opportunity to offer another source of comfort to his patients and increased relaxation to the office atmosphere," explain's Weiss' website.

At Weiss' office, Thursdays have become known as "Brooke Day". She is now a local celebrity with his patients, who now make it a point to schedule all of their appointments on Thursday.

"Patients look to come back on a Thursday," Weiss said. "If demand increases, we may have to up her hours."

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