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Nurse Starts 'Pet the Pooch' Program at Hospital

Matt Formica
Matt Formica

Jan 09, 2015

Thanks to nurse Heather Matthew, for two hours every month, Pennsylvania hospital employees can take a break and get some much needed pet therapy.

Matthew, a nurse at the Hospital of the University of Pennsylvania (HUP), launched the Pet the Pooch program in 2013 - with the vision of giving nurses and medical employees some much needed relaxation via periodically scheduled interaction with dogs and cats.  Multiple studies have shown (and we've talked about this on the SportBlog before) that petting/interaction with dogs and cats is extremely therapeutic, and considering the high stress levels that can accompany working in any hospital ER, the Pet the Pooch program is adding tremendous value at HUP.

“Multiple studies show that dogs, cats are all very therapeutic and when you pet them your blood pressure and heart rate decrease...We have a pet therapy program at Penn for the patients and I thought that the staff needed a break in their day too,” Matthew said.

And a break, for 2 hours every month, is exactly what they're getting.  

But it's not just the hospital employees that are benefiting- the dogs and cats involved in the program come from the Pennsylvania Society for the Prevention of Cruelty to Animals (SPCA) - so they can be adopted at any time.  And many of the medical staff members are doing just that; and giving these animals a better life - and happy home.

It's a true win-win scenario.

Good work, Heather!  Team SportLeash salutes you.

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