Therapy Dog Helps Calm Young Dental Patients
A Williamsville dentist has added a new employee to his staff but this one is four-legged and furry.
As YNN's Kate McGowan explains, 'Brooke' the therapy dog is gaining attention worldwide for how she helps calm young patients.
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WILLIAMSVILLE, N.Y. -- This four-legged friend is quite the star at this pediatric dental office in Williamsville.
"People love it. She's so soft and fuzzy and cuddly and she just wants to hang out with you," said dentist, Dr. Paul Weiss.
Wednesdays and Thursdays are known as 'Brooke Day' in the office. The four-year-old Golden Retriever brings comfort to those who may be fearful of the dentist.
Dr. Paul Weiss said she gives many children a reason to smile.
"It relaxes people and gets their mind off of, 'oh my what are they going to do to me at the dentist'. It's something fun. Just one more thing we can do to help ease their concerns of coming to the dental office," he said. "Some of the kids want her next to the chair, some of the kids want her in the chair, so we can often do that."
Dr. Weiss, who has been running the office for the past 23 years, trained and certified Brooke as a therapy dog this summer. In only a short time, her popularity has grown.
But just recently, Brooke gained worldwide attention, after a photo of her cuddling up next to a patient, went viral.
"Within four days, it was around the world with somewhere around two-million views. I was very surprised and overwhelmed," the dentist exclaimed.
The photo circulated throughout Facebook and landed on websites like the Huffington Post and Ellen DeGeneres Show. Dr. Weiss said even a dentist from Japan was inspired by the photo and now hopes to use this idea.
"The whole therapy dog concept is really great," he explained.
Patients young and old agree; Sharing the chair with Brooke can calm nerves and brighten even a seven-year-old's day.
"I love dogs, and her. She's so furry," expressed Carmela Capizzi, 7.
"It's awesome to see the effect on the kids and the parents," Dr. Weiss said.
Dr. Weiss said the patient demand for Brooke has nearly doubled and he hopes to bring her in even more often.