It has been nearly one year since we started the Paws for Patients program here at the Osborne Head and Neck Foundation. What originally started as an in-person, traditional therapy dog program, evolved into something new – a virtual therapy experience for people in need.
Without the ability to access patients face-to-face due to the pandemic, moving the program online found an unexpected way to help those struggling with isolation, fear, stress and a host of other needs all around North America. The lack of face-to-face interaction most of us experienced throughout the year, saw an increased in mental health needs.
Quickly we realized the power in our program as parents looked for ways to help their children adjust to online schooling and remote learning, and people from all walks of life tried to find normalcy in a very abnormal Instead of putting a pause on our “Paws for Patients” program, we decided to go virtual in a time when we were needed more than ever.
Since then, Laney, our virtual therapy dog, has been featured on various media outlets including ABC News, KTLA5, and Scripps National News networks.
Laney has visited a few thousand people from individuals to groups all over the world this past year. Our zoom sessions have been in education, community service, individual sessions, as well as businesses.
In promoting education and child development, there have been many children eagerly reading to Laney and she has done school visits to promote mental health awareness.
As part of our community service effort at the foundation, it has been an amazing experience helping out our fellow veterans with PTSD.
Laney has visited children and adults with Special Needs.
It has been an eventful year for the Paws for Patients program despite the setback caused by COVID-19. However, we at the Osborne Head and Neck Foundation will continue to push forward to provide a resource to people who need us.
Visit Laney’s page for more information or to book your appointment with her.