"Canine Assistants" in Doctors' Offices

An article at The Wall Street Journal discusses the growing trend of physicians having dogs in their offices to interact with patients.
Some patients pat Gus while they talk to Dr. Ramsey. A few talk to Gus instead. And if they get emotional, Gus provides physical comfort that therapists can't offer. "We can't hug patients, but patients can hug Gus..."

"Coming to this office can be unnerving for dementia patients, but when they see a dog, it's disarming. They feel comforted and safe," she says... Early in his practice, child psychologist Aubrey Fine treated a 9-year-old girl who was painfully withdrawn and refused to speak until his golden retriever, Puppy, laid her head in the girl's lap. The girl slowly began patting Puppy, smiled and spoke to her as her astonished parents looked on...

While there are no set requirements for having an animal assistant, most dogs who work with doctors have been trained in obedience and as therapy dogs... Of course, some patients are allergic or frightened around animals. Most doctors who practice with dogs inform patients before the first visit, and put the pup elsewhere for part of the day if necessary. But most find that practicing with a dog is a draw for patients, not a deterrent.

Much more at the link, including diagnostic skills attributed to dogs, and why dogs are better than cats in an office setting.

Link.  Photo credit Michal Czerwonka.

Just one more reason why dogs are our best friends. I wonder if this would work the same with cats? My opinion as a dog lover is that it would not. Sorry cat people.
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My primary care physician has his dog in the office. Though the dog (who is a certified therapy dog) usually just sits in the filing area he is more than happy to get a pat on the head or a scratch behind the ears.
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Among animals I think dogs can be best trained and tamed. Dogs have diversified purposes, that makes it the best animal in the world. But yet still people like tigers globally. 21% people think tigers as their favorite while 20% think lion :). So dogs are just 1% behind tigers in terms of their liking. :)
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