Fraser Health introduces first hospital ‘trauma dog’ in B.C.

Therapy dogs can help patients reduce stress and comfort them if they are lonely or depressed

Fraser Health wants to bring some puppy love to Surrey Memorial Hospital.

On Thursday, Oct. 12, Koltan was introduced by Fraser Health during their ‘Puppy Love Day,’ which is a day where the B.C. Pets and Friends volunteer organization brings puppies to the hospital to interact with employees.

Koltan, a three-year-old yellow lab, is the first trauma dog in a B.C. hospital, according to Fraser Health.

As a trauma dog, Koltan provides support to patients in emergency and intensive care units. He also offers support to those who have suffered from relationship violence and sexual abuse.

“Interacting with dogs can improve patient outcomes by creating a therapeutic and healing environment,” said Fraser Health president and CEO, Michael Marchbank.

SEE ALSO: Mac the therapy dog gives comfort to wildfire evacuees

Koltan’s inclusion in treatment plans allows patients suffering from trauma to enjoy some quality time with the young canine. Patients engage in therapeutic contact with him in order to reduce stress.

Studies have shown that therapeutic contact with animals lowers blood pressure, reduces heart rate, improves cardiovascular health and slows breathing for those who are anxious.

Therapy dogs like Koltan can also comfort people who might be lonely or depressed while in recovery.

“Koltan is extremely empathetic. He loves touch and he loves people,” said Lynn Gifford, clinical coordinator, forensic nursing, and one of Koltan’s caretakers. “I have seen him provide companionship to victims of relationship violence who benefit from this nonjudgmental form of comfort.”

Fraser Health doesn’t want Koltan to be a lone ranger for dog therapy.

That’s why Surrey Memorial Hospital is creating a therapy dog team. The goal is to have a database of different dogs so that patients can connect with the dog that gives them the best physical and emotional comfort.

Fraser Health hopes to have the program operational by spring of 2018.



trevor.beggs@surreynowleader.com

Like us on Facebook and follow Trevor on Twitter

 

Just Posted

Legacy of Maple Ridge teen lives on through foundation

Amanda Todd’s mother Carol stresses the importance of putting the phone down and talking with children

Welcoming atmosphere at Christmas Haven

Christmas Eve event welcomes all seeking a connection to the community during the holidays.

Learning how to find those lost in Maple Ridge woods

Search and rescue just trained up eight recruits

Firefighers shaking their boots for charity

At 11 locations in Maple Ridge and Pitt Meadows on Saturday

VIDEO: Man frustrated that Vancouver taxi driver won’t take him home to New Westminster

Kuldip Gill says that not being able to get a ride to the suburbs is a constant problem

VIDEO: Man frustrated that Vancouver taxi driver won’t take him home to New Westminster

Kuldip Gill says that not being able to get a ride to the suburbs is a constant problem

UPDATE: Train hits hydro pole, causes outage near Deltaport

No injuries reported but traffic in and out of Deltaport is blocked

VIDEO: Vancouver Whitecaps acquire star striker Kei Kamara

Kamara has 103 goals and 39 assists in 298 appearances over 11 Major League Soccer seasons

Smartphone pedometers underestimate steps, but valuable health tool: study

UBC researchers found the iPhone underestimated steps by 21.5 per cent

VIDEO: ‘Last Jedi’ premiere kicks off with droids, Daisy Ridley

Latests Star Wars film premiered in style ahead of Dec. 15 theatre debut

Vancouver Giants rally from three goals down to stun Kootenay Ice in OT

Vancouver scored the final four goals of the night at LEC, including Ty Ronning’s overtime winner

BC Lions part ways with three coaches

These are the first personnel moves made by new general manager Ed Hervey

Most Read