100 WVIA Way
Pittston, PA 18640

Phone: 570-826-6144
Fax: 570-655-1180

Copyright © 2022 WVIA, all rights reserved. WVIA is a 501(c)(3) not-for-profit organization.
Play Live Radio
Next Up:
0:00
0:00
0:00 0:00
Available On Air Stations

More than puppy love, Mount Nittany Medical Center starts therapy dog program

Participants in Mount Nittany Medical Center's Pet Therapy Program, which is starting in October 2023. The dogs are specially trained to provide comfort and companionship to patients.
Mount Nittany Health
Participants in Mount Nittany Medical Center's Pet Therapy Program, which is starting in October 2023. The dogs are specially trained to provide comfort and companionship to patients.

Being in a hospital can be stressful, but a visit from a furry four-legged friend might help.

Under a new pet therapy program at Mount Nittany Medical Center in Centre County, patients and staff can have some canine companionship. The dogs get special training, and they receive certification through organizations including the Alliance of Therapy Dogs and Therapy Dogs International, both of which are recognized by the American Kennel Club.

Mount Nittany Medical Center's Pet Therapy Program, which is starting in October 2023, has dogs that are specially trained to provide comfort and companionship to patients.
Mount Nittany Health
Mount Nittany Medical Center's Pet Therapy Program, which is starting in October 2023, has dogs that are specially trained to provide comfort and companionship to patients.

“We believe in the power of these specialty trained therapy dogs to provide comfort and companionship to our patients, ultimately reducing their stress and anxiety levels," Steve Sinclair, a member of the nursing administration, who helped develop the program as part of his master’s degree project, said in a news release.

According to Mount Nittany Health, dogs in the program are picked for being well-behaved, enjoying people and thriving in schools and other institutions.

Right now, the program has three dogs — Baily, Connor and Faolin — and their handlers. The community volunteers began their training Friday, and Mount Nittany expects the dogs to begin their one-hour shifts in the upcoming weeks.

Anne Danahy