Healing with therapy dogs at Kennedy Krieger

Photo credit: kennedykrieger.org

If you know anything about me, you know how much I love animals, especially dogs. When I read about Kennedy Krieger Institute’s (KKI) dog therapy program, I contacted its PR team for more info.

I loved the story of Stephanie Cooper Greenberg, who brings her Dalmatian therapy dog, Mattilda, to KKI’s inpatient unit. Cooper Greenberg saw the connection between her dog and a child firsthand; a boy with a traumatic brain injury was responsive for the first time when he  reached out his hand for the first time to pet Mattilda.

Six therapy dog teams comprise the Animal Assisted Therapy program at the Institute. Dogs interact with patients during traditional therapy—behavioral, occupational, recreational, speech, and physical—to help them achieve their therapy goals. A child with a brain injury may have difficulty moving an arm, but if she is given the opportunity to pet a therapy dog, she may move it without thinking. Or if the therapy goal is to learn to use a wheelchair, a child may be motivated to move across the room to get closer to a dog. (I know that I gravitate toward any dog without even thinking!)

Check out the video below from KKI showcasing the animal therapy. They’re getting a miniature horse, too! Have you ever thought about your animal becoming a therapy animal?

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