Would you rather have a death grip on the arms of your dental chair or feel the comforting presence of a therapy dog that lies close enough for you to pet him during your dentist appointment? Most of us likely would prefer man’s best friend.
More dental offices are using trained therapy dogs to calm their patients during procedures. Take Brooke, a golden retriever, and the newest team member of Dr. Paul Weiss’s Williamsburg, N.Y., pediatric dental practice.
Dr. Weiss enrolled Brooke in a two-week boot camp and Therapy Dogs International certified her as a trained therapy dog. One day a week, Brooke sits next to children who are lying in dental chairs, so they can pet her during dental procedures. She also greets patients in the dental office. Brooke also is bathed before each visit and patients are alerted to her presence before their appointment so she won’t be around anyone who is allergic to dogs.
People posting on the office’s Facebook page from all over the country lauded Weiss for the idea. One woman wrote, “Dr. Weiss, I wish you were here in Massachusetts, because I would certainly be brave enough to go to the dentist if I knew such a wonderful pup would be sitting on my lap.”