Pet therapy day brings smiles to Saint Barnabas Medical Center patients, staff and visitors

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Human-animal interaction brought joy, laughter and healing to patients and staff at Saint Barnabas Medical Center’s “Pet Therapy Day” on Wednesday. The SBMC Islami Auditorium was filled with volunteer pet-therapy teams and their dogs, who were eager to interact with employees, patients and members of the community who needed a smile.

Saint Barnabas’ Pet Therapy program is a patient-centered experience that brings dogs to the hospital to interact with patients in need. According to Pet Therapy Coordinator Jackie Canete, the therapy teams, certified by Bright and Beautiful Therapy Dogs, understand the needs of patients with various medical conditions. In this case, Canete said the event was primarily intended for staff and visitors, but dogs and their owners were happy to visit patients upon request. 

“I’m trying to make [Pet Therapy Day] an annual thing and maybe even a bi-annual thing because the staff just loves it,” said Canete. “The dogs bring a tremendous amount of stress relief, they lessen your anxiety, lower your blood pressure and just give you an overall feeling of well good and comfort.”

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