Tipper has been visiting patients for several years at Centegra Health System. She is not your typical volunteer, though. Tipper is a dachshund/sheltie mix owned by Nanci Tayler and she is one of more than 30 dogs participating in Centegra’s Animal Assisted Therapy Program called Caring Paws.
Studies have shown that visits from a therapy dog reduce blood pressure, feelings of anxiety, stress levels and loneliness, all of which aids in the healing process. At Centegra, therapy dogs visit patients in the waiting areas, at Centegra Sage Cancer Center as well as in the nursing units.
Centegra Health System offers classes for people (and dogs) interested in becoming therapy teams.
For more information about the Caring Paws Program, call (815) 759.4203.