State legislators welcome Dogs on Call

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Therapy dogs and their trainers from the Virginia Commonwealth University Dogs on Call program visited the Virginia General Assembly this week, receiving recognition for the aid they provide.

Recognized at the State Capitol by Sen. Walter A. Stosch, the dogs visited the Senate floor and the offices of many state lawmakers. The Dogs on Call Program is part of the VCU School of Medicine’s Center for Human-Animal Interaction.

In his introduction on the Senate floor, Stosch noted that the 35 therapy-dog teams, which consist of dogs and their trainers, visited more than 2,000 hospitalized patients in 2013 and more than 3,000 families and staff.

“Dogs on Call brings community volunteers and their certified therapy dogs to visit hospitalized patients throughout the [VCU] Medical Center,” Stosch said. “Research conducted by the Center for Human-Animal Interaction documents the many health benefits these visits provide to patients.”

Lt. Gov. Ralph Northam, who was presiding over the Senate session, also praised the therapy dog teams. A pediatrician, Northam noted that he had experience with therapy dogs and had seen their impact firsthand.

“I’d like to share with the chamber the good things these animals do,” Northam said. “When we do procedures in the hospital, whatever it may be, these animals are more effective than a lot of the medications at calming kids and putting them at ease. We appreciate all that you do.”


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