Layla the Therapy Dog

This week’s #MondayMotivation looks at how a friendly face can transform a person’s day.

Last June, our Elder Life Specialist- Rebekah Larter, initiated a Therapy Dog program for visiting with patients and their families. Layla, our therapy dog, and her mom Charlotte volunteer at the Hospital once a week to bring smiles to patients and their families all around the hospital.

Hi! I’m Layla, one of the Therapy dogs here at the hospital. My role is to provide a small distraction from the hospital environment for patients, families and staff, while bringing unconditional affection to everyone I meet.

Layla the Therapy Dog at work

My mom says, “Layla doesn’t care about the circumstances of the visit or what environment she walks into, she is just happy to meet and accept affection from each individual.”

Therapy dogs, like me, have a huge impact on patient care. For example, during one of my first visits to the hospital with my mom, the nurses requested I visit a specific room. There was an elderly gentleman in there who was having a bad day. I made my rounds and finally made my way into the man’s room.  My mom asked if he would like a visit from me and he said that would be okay. After interacting with me for a while, the man began opening up. He happily shared his past experiences with dogs, sharing how he used to train dogs for the K-9 unit in the police force. He continued to give me the seal of approval as a “good dog.” The visit reminded him of a happy time in his life and helped transform his bad day into a more positive one. The nurses caring for him thanked both me and my mom for the visit and were grateful for the positive interaction that I had with this patient.

Stories like these happen all the time. You don’t need to have to do anything specific to feel the love from a dog. Patients who do not usually initiate interaction, will reach out to Layla and say hello. It is a great opportunity to provide a positive interaction and something fun for patients during their stay. It is a unique program that adds an additional element of care for patients and their families while at Guelph General Hospital.

A second dog, Bella, and her mom Beth, will be joining Layla in the coming months, bringing more pawsitivity to our hospital.

This is just one more example of how Guelph General Hospital and its staff are dedicated to providing the highest quality care and experience for patients and their families.