Chloe is a 5 year old Yellow Labrador Retriever. She has been part of Dr. Boylan's family since she was seven weeks old. Chloe has been visiting assisted living and nursing homes since she was just a pup. At age 1.5 years she went through the training to become a Cancer Therapy Dog and passed her test with with "flying colors." Since then she and her handler Lexi, shown together here, have enjoyed their weekly visits to Potomac Radiation Oncology Center in Northern Virginia and the many friends they have made in our waiting room.
A cancer therapy dog is a pet that has been trained and tested to accompany his/her handler to visit patients and residents of facilities like hospitals and nursing homes. The primary objective of the dog and handler is to provide comfort, cheer and companionship by sharing the dog with the patients. This is done in a way that increases emotional well being, promotes healing and improves the quality of life for the people being visited and the staff that cares for these people.
Regular visits from Therapy Dogs and their handlers can provide stimulation for conversation in mental health counseling. Therapy dogs can elevate the mood of a facility in general and specifically that of the patients, their family members and staff. Everyone especially the patients benefit from the unconditional love and acceptance provided by Therapy dogs. Regardless of how patients look or feel the dog is always happy to see them. It has been shown that petting, touching and talking with these "four footed therapists' can lower blood pressure, relieve stress and ease depression.