On February 11th, 2010, Warren Eckstein was privileged to speak before the innovative pet therapy program that Cedars-Sinai Medical Center in Los Angeles has operated since 1996. In attendance were the gifted four-footed volunteers and their pet guardians.
The concept on which the program is based is simple: Some patients heal significantly faster and better if they are visited by a friendly animal. Currently more than 30 dog/owner teams participate in the hospital’s four pet therapy programs — cancer, rehab, pediatrics & cardiology.
“The best human volunteers have patience and are responsive to the patient, staff and family members,” says Barbara Cowen, the licensed clinical social worker supervises the Pet Therapy program in cardiology, including ICU. “They take great joy and pride in seeing how their dog is making a difference in people’s lives.”