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PetSafe® Dog Park helps the healing process for children

Sometimes a wet nose and a wagging tail are the best medicine for a patient. That’s why in 2019, the Studer Family Children’s Hospital at Ascension Sacred Heart in Pensacola, Florida decided to build a dog park with the help from the PetSafe® Bark for Your Park™ grant program. This unique space provides a playground for hospital therapy dogs and a gathering spot for patients and pets, as seen in this video.

“We want families to be here, we want their pets to be here, we want our patients feeling as much as like they’re at home as possible, and the PetSafe® Dog Park does just that,” says Will Condon, president of the Studer Family Children’s Hospital.

The benefits of having a dog park for hospital patients

Whether a patient is receiving a visit from a therapy dog or their pet, animal-assisted therapy has shown to be helpful with the healing process.

According to , therapy dogs provide:

  • A positive effect on patients’ pain levels and satisfaction with their hospital stay
  • Significantly increased positive social behaviors among children with autism
  • Social support, lowered blood pressure, and improved pain, mood and other measures of distress

For the caregivers at the Children’s Hospital, this research backs up what they have experienced.

“When we are able to bring patients down to see and play with the dogs, it really makes a positive impact on their stay,” says Jordan Bowman, Patient Care Manager.

And DJ Josephson, Patient Care Manager, adds, “The dog park is wonderful. The dogs in general, they tend to just bring that sense of calmness with them.”

How Bark For Your Park™ helped the Children’s Hospital

Family members can visit patients in the hospital, but their dogs, who are family members too, can’t. Thanks to a $25,000 grant from the PetSafe® Bark for Your Park™ program, the Children’s Hospital built an off-leash dog park so patients and dogs could visit with each other.

“We can’t offer any other service to bring a bigger smile to their faces, and the PetSafe® Dog Park does that. So, very grateful for PetSafe®, for the grant and what the service is able to provide to our patients,” says Condon.

How to build or maintain a dog park in your community

Whether it’s located in the heart of a neighborhood or at a hospital, it’s worth building a dog park because they have a positive impact on making life better for people, pets and the whole community.

That’s why In 2011, PetSafe® brand developed and launched the nationwide Bark for Your Park™ campaign to offer grants for dog parks. To date, PetSafe® has donated over 1.65 million dollars, which has helped fund over 80 off-leash parks around the country.

In keeping with our tradition of helping communities become a safer, happier and more welcoming place for pets and their people, PetSafe® is excited to launch a new Bark for Your Park™ contest on May 1, 2022. If you have a place to build a dog park or need to sustain an existing one, you can learn more about us and how to enter your community for an opportunity to win a grant

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