Kentucky hospital chaplain connects patients with dogs

From WKU, the public radio service of Western Kentucky University:

Doctors aren’t the only ones on call at Hardin Memorial Hospital in Elizabethtown.  So is man’s best friend.

A part Labrador Retriever named Baron; Pepper the Yorkie; Lola, a Rhodesian Ridgeback; and Lady, a German Short-Haired Pointer, reported for duty at the hospital on a recent Friday afternoon, and fanned out to patient rooms to offer some canine comfort. 

The dogs make up the hospital’s pet therapy program known as PUPS, which stands for “Providing Unconditional Patient Support”.  Chaplain Jessica Jasper started the program for patients in palliative care and their family members.

“It helps the conversation,” she said.  “If you’re just a chaplain walking in, ‘Hello, I’m a chaplain and I’m sorry for your loss,’ a lot of people don’t open up as much. But you bring a dog in, they immediately start opening up.”

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