Therapy Dog Helps Patients

June 29, 2023


The sweet and friendly Cockapoo (Cocker Spaniel and Poodle mix) dog named Brownie delights staff and patients alike as he makes his rounds at the clinic; visiting patients working toward increasing their mobility and strength, all the while getting petted and engaging in gentle play.  Brian Monroe, DPT, OCS a physical therapist of Glinn and Giordano Physical Therapy, has occasionally brought Brownie to work for the last few years.  Brownie is a 10 year old hypoallergenic dog with hair.  Monroe, who is balding, says Brownie has less hair in the comb after brushing than he does!  Brownie’s non-shedding hair is a great characteristic to have in a therapy dog, Monroe says.

“There’s a lot of research about animal assisted therapy and how it can mentally and physically help with things like decreasing heart rate and blood pressure, and releasing chemicals in your body that help you calm down,” Monroe says, “But the joy and smiles of the staff and patients is what it’s really all about.”  “The most robust men start talking in higher pitched voices when talking to Brownie and engaging with him.”

Brownie comes to work once every 2 weeks and patients are always asking when he is coming back.  Currently he has befriended a 96 year old female patient recovering from a femur fracture with a rod and screws.  She frequently asks if she can schedule her visits when Brownie is in, not necessarily when her PT Brian is.  Last time she was sitting on the table exercising and Brownie jumped up on the table with her (after asking permission and getting the nod “ok”) and laid down with his back up against her leg to be near her.  As you can imagine she just melted, and you could instantly see the joy it brought her.

Typically Brownie wanders the clinic follow his dad, Physical Therapist Brian Monroe; and when approaching patients Brownie comes to a stop and sits waiting for the patient to say hi to him with petting and scratching behind the ears. Having a furry friend in the clinic visibly changes the demeanor of patients as they begin their physical therapy exercises, which can be physically challenging.  Maybe next time you come into physical therapy, Brownie or one of the many therapy dogs out there will be there to greet you too!