Tag Archives: Pet therapy

Pet Therapy Stress Break

In addition to being affectionally called “Man’s Best Friend,” did you know that dogs are also good for your heart? A study from the American Heart Association found that dog owners tend to have lower blood pressure and lower resting heart rates than people who don’t have a dog. The study found dog owners also tend to be more active, report fewer incidences of depression and experience lower stress levels. What’s more, the study found that children who grow up in a house with a dog are less likely to be obese.

Lexington Medical Center has a robust pet therapy program – with more than a dozen dogs who visit patients at our hospital and skilled nursing facility. These furry friends are a valued part of the hospital’s Volunteer Services program. Each Valentine’s Day, we invite staff and community members to pet a dog and educate them about the health benefits of dog ownership. Participants also receive a free blood pressure screening.

Here’s a look at some of our favorite photos from this year’s edition.

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To learn more about our hospital’s comprehensive cardiovascular program, visit LexMed.com/HVC.

Pet Therapy at Lexington Extended Care

Cindy Quattlebaum manages the volunteer program at Lexington Medical Center Extended Care and participates in it, too. Her registered therapy dogs have been helping residents at the facility since 2002.

“I have volunteered all my life. I am a firm believer that everything we have belongs to God, and He deserves our service for the many blessings He give us each day,” she said.
Cindy volunteered with her chocolate Labrador Max before he passed away in November 2018. She now volunteers with Bear, her 11-year-old beagle mix, at Extended Care.

Cindy Quattlebaum

“I have loved animals all my life. They give their unconditional love, and everyone needs to know they are loved. It means so much to bring a smile to someone’s face and share a little love,” said Cindy.

Cindy also owns several other volunteer pets and helps run her family’s farm – Breezy Hills Farm.

“We have 10 miniature donkeys, 1 miniature pony and four goats that volunteer at Extended Care. We also have cows, a rescue Mustang horse, a standard donkey and two cats at Breezy Hills Farm. Children and adults visit our animals, and we take them to birthday parties and other events. Our motto for our farm ministry is ‘Sharing God’s love one hoof and paw at a time.’”

Cindy started working at LMC Extended Care when it was known as Rikard Nursing Home. She has been there for more than 42 years – first as a nurse and then she started the first organized volunteer program.

There are currently more than 70 animals in the LMC Extended Care volunteer pet therapy program. To participate, contact Cindy at 996-6266 or csquattlebaum@lexhealth.org. Pet volunteers must be mild-mannered, well-behaved in different environments, and current on vaccinations, and flea, tick and heartworm prevention.

Guard Your Heart With the Love of A Dog

Dogs are affectionately called man’s best friend. But did you know their companionship also offers benefits for your heart health? Studies show a canine companion can help with everything from lowering blood pressure to reducing stress. That’s why Lexington Medical Center is hosting a “therapy dog stress break” where visitors and staff members can come to the hospital and spend time with furry friends on Valentine’s Day. The event is free and open to the public.

Community members are invited to the North Tower Atrium inside Lexington Medical Center from 1:00 – 3:00 p.m. on Wednesday, February 14 to shake off some stress by petting a dog. Lexington Medical Center clinicians will also be on hand to answer questions about how managing stress and finding relaxing activities can help our health. And, visitors can receive a free blood pressure screening.

According to the American Heart Association, pet ownership, particularly dog ownership, may help reduce a person’s risk for cardiovascular disease:
*Studies have found that pet owners have lower blood pressure and resting heart rates than people who do not have a pet, even when they had a similar body mass index (BMI) and socioeconomic profile.
*Research shows dog owners are more likely to be physically active than non-dog owners — tending to walk longer and more often.
*A study found that younger children whose families owned a dog were less likely to be overweight or obese compared with children in families without a dog.
*Additional research has found that pets lower stress and help heart patients live longer.

Each of the dogs participating in the event is a certified therapy dog that visits patients at Lexington Medical Center’s main campus in West Columbia and Extended Care, the hospital’s skilled nursing facility in Lexington. They are a popular and important part of Lexington Medical Center’s Volunteer Services department.