Experiences and feedback from institutions

«A dog is not a piece of equipment, but a living being. This brings about an emotional relationship which enables all other therapeutic activities. The resultant joy and psychological well-being enormously assist in the healing of our children.»
Dr. med. Beat Knecht, Rehabilitation Center of the Children's Hospital in Zürich Affoltern

«Chica actively combats loneliness. Patients with closed head injuries enjoy animal assisted therapy. Through contact with a therapy dog, patients find an emotional entry back to the world. Lost automatisms are regenerated and new behavioral mechanisms are activated. Through play, new words are suddenly reactivated. Often during walks natural locomotor ability is again possible, without artificial positioning.»
Extract from the yearly report of the Rehabilitation Clinic in Bellikon

«The visits of our therapy dog Aruk and his owner bring joy, motivation and welcome change to the daily lives of our patients. The goal of an enhanced quality of life is more than met in an outstanding manner. Palliative care nurse Susanne Gfeller adds: Aruk establishes a connection with our patients immediately.»
Chr. Urs, Department director, Salem-Spital Bern, Palliative Care Division

«In our cognitive and restorative neurology departments at the Inselspital, patients with acquired brain injuries are accompanied through the rehabilitation process. For the last four years therapy dogs have been successfully employed. A young patient in a persistent vegetative state (we'll call him Tom) demonstrated to us how a therapy dog can positively influence the rehabilitation process. For several weeks Tom lay immobile, yet tense, with eyes closed in bed. With interest and enthusiasm the therapy dog lied down very close to Tom, and cuddled with her head on his chest. Tom progressively relaxed, which calmed his breathing. Tom became more awake, opened his eyes, and showed visible interest in the dog. He then began to stroke the dog. Especially the softness of the dog's ears seemed to particularly please him. By the end of his stay Tom was able to feed the dog treats and to remove her collar. The development of the relationship between Tom and the dog lasted for three months. The activation and progression brought about by the therapy dog also surprised the attending physicians. We, the nursing team, always find the contact between dog and patient remarkable, and touching. The therapy dog team visits are an integral aspect of our department.»
Renate Luginbühl and Ursula Hill, Inselspital, Bern

«For more than ten years therapy dog teams have been with us in the Ziegelei Center. These visits are very much appreciated and valued by the residents as well as the caretakers and administration. In all these years we have only had positive experiences with our "four-legged therapists" and their owners. We continually observe, and are amazed by, what the therapy dogs can bring about on the way to the department. They are masters in establishing contact, and we would not wish to miss these positive encounters in our institution. We are looking forward to many therapy dog visits in the future, and want to thank all involved for this valuable enrichment.»
Lydia Loosli, Activity Therapy, Ziegelei Center, Steffisburg

«Two owners and their therapy dogs have been visiting our long-term patients for the last year. The need for these most welcome visits is enormous. The dogs work especially well with patients with inhibitions and difficulties with interpersonal contact, and well as those with emotional difficulties or problematic relationship skills.»
Dr. med. J. Kliment, Psychiatric Clinic of Oberwil

«Willy, an animal loving resident, is unable to read or write. His bond with Sheroe and her owner is readily apparent. Over the last six years they have developed a strong bond of trust so that it is now possible for Willy to venture to take difficult steps that he was unable to accomplish before.»
Elisabeth Kniezinger, Wohngruppe Rothuus, Home for the multiply handicapped in Muttenz

«The enormous and highly appreciated work that you achieve at the APH is done free of charge. I would like to thank you and Caresse, also in the name of all the residents, from the bottom of our hearts.»
Christine Bärtschi, Social Services, Alters und Pflegeheim Burgdorf (extract from a thank you note)

«We deliberately employ therapy dogs with disoriented residents using individual visits. We highly esteem these visits as additional offerings in the care of patients with confusion as well as residents with dementia.»
Daniel Dossenbach, Heimleiter, APH im Brühl, Spreitenbach

«Thanks to the visits from Beni at our special needs school Hakan now speaks more, and Marina's fear of contact has improved.»
Carla Boumiza, teacher, Heilpägogische Schule Zug

«Leo is a one of a kind dog. He helps children and gives them self confidence. For example, when I have math and I do not understand an equation, I can glance at Leo in his corner, and the solution comes to me. It's as if Leo knows the answer and is able to "beam" it to my brain. Once I also had a quiz that I was able to take next to Leo in the reading corner. When I received the quiz back the next day I learned that I had received a good grade on it.»
Michelle, a student, speaking about Regula Aeppli Meier's therapy dog

«Patients who no longer react to nursing staff will often open up to dogs. Dogs can use a different "channel" to accomplish this with the elderly. With respect to hygiene (for example dogs napping on patient beds) - we have no issues.»
Roland Kunz, Heimarzt, Krankenheim Oberi, Wintherthur