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Pet therapy and pet visitation programs kick off in Oshkosh

Wednesday, November 24, 2004

Get ready for four-legs and fur to lend a healing and helping paw to patients at Aurora Medical Center in Oshkosh.

Aurora Medical Center, Oshkosh held an official kick-off of the Pet Therapy and Pet Visitation Program on Tuesday, Nov. 23. Pet Therapy’s first pediatric patient, his parents, the Aurora Medical Center therapy dog, the Oshkosh police dog and a rescue dog from New York all were on-hand for the celebration.

``“We’ve already brought in the therapy dog for a little 16-month-old patient, `` said John Nieman, Volunteer Coordinator and Chaplain at the hospital. ``It helps children receiving medical procedures so much. I know if I were sick, I would want a dog to come visit me.``

Many studies have shown the positive impact of animals on people. Pet interaction can help lower blood pressure, increase optimism, and improve morale.

``“Animals have a calming and soothing effect on children and adults,`` said Nieman. ``This program, which allows dogs to visit with patients, goes along with our philosophy of treating the whole person, both physically and mentally.``

Pet visitation is the patient's own pet visiting. Pet Therapy is when certified Pet Therapy dogs with their respective owners visit patients.

Aurora Medical Center, Oshkosh is located along Highway 21, just west of Highway 41. Aurora Health Care is a not-for-profit Wisconsin health care provider and a national leader in efforts to improve the quality of care. Aurora offers care at sites in more than 80 communities throughout eastern Wisconsin.

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Contact:  Mark Kantola (920-451-5351)

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