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Benefits of pet therapy to be discussed at UTMC program

When it comes to comfort and recovery, sometimes a furry face can be a helpful complement to cancer treatments.Jane Ann Zeigler-Wentz and her therapy dog, Porshia, will present a program about the benefits of pet therapy 6-7:30 p.m. Wednesday, Aug. 5 at the Eleanor N. Dana Center at The University of Toledo Medical Center. The event is free and open to the public.

Jane Ann Zeigler-Wentz and Porshia, the therapy dog

Jane Ann Zeigler-Wentz and Porshia, the therapy dog

Among her many clients, Porshia, a multi-generation Australian Labradoodle certified through Therapy Dogs International, is a therapy dog for UTMC. She visits the Dana Cancer Center every Wednesday, along with fulfilling special requests.

“Dogs lift everyone’s spirits and mood,” said Zeigler-Wentz, who would have  benefited from pet therapy  during her second bout of cancer. “If we can bring a little light into the darkness, that is a successful day for us.”

The benefits of pet visits include reduced stress, anxiety and loneliness, as well as motivation to participate in one’s therapy, according to Zeigler-Wentz. Therapy pets give patients a welcome distraction from illness, symptoms and worry, she said, in addition to giving them something to talk about, other than their cancer treatment  that day.  Several patients even show photos of their pets and talk about the unbelievable unconditional love their pets give them.”

“This breed of dog has great intuition. They are working dogs. They really want to serve,”  Zeigler-Wentz said. “Porshia doesn’t attach to someone. She is able to go from room to room without getting distracted by hugs and kisses  She intuitively knows who needs her TLC.”

Jan Tipton, the Infusion Center manager, said the pet therapy program on Aug. 5 is part of a larger project to encourage patients to talk about their pets. UTMC staff and patients are submitting photos of their pets, which will be displayed at the Eleanor N. Dana Cancer Center

“The pictures coming in are adorable,” Tipton said. “You see a lot of smiles and excitement. We are connecting with patients in a different way.”

Media Coverage
13 ABC and NBC 24 (Aug. 11, 2015)


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