The Dodo features St. Mary’s Pet Therapy Program

The popular social media page, The Dodo, which is known for posting shareable animal-related videos, featured our Pet Therapy program in a live segment. Our animal-assisted therapy program helps motivate kids and soothe them during therapy. Meet some of our hard-working four-legged volunteers who visit our children each week. Polo, a handsome French Bulldog, has been helping St. Mary’s Kids with his owner Josh since 2013. Polo is a New York State Certified Therapy Dog and he visits the young, sick and elderly in some of the top local hospitals and anywhere he is invited to “spread love”. Barbie and Ken are two adorable Golden Doodles. Pumpkin, a sweet Shichon from Therapy Dogs of Long Island, loves playing ball, belly rubs and bringing lots of smiles to St. Mary’s Kids.

Our pet therapy pack helps kids with special needs reach rehabilitative goals, experience greater well-being, and improve physical, social, cognitive, emotional, and behavioral functioning. For example, many of these children undergo intense physical and occupational therapy to learn how to function after traumatic brain injuries. They practice fine motor and gross motor skills with petting, feeding and ball tossing, and the dogs are used as an incentive to get kids out of bed, into a wheelchair, walking, etc. They also provide comfort and help reduce depression and anxiety. Other notable benefits to the children include increased vocalizations, improved social skills, improved use of non-dominant hands, and overall increased alertness. 

Our children, their families and even staff look forward to the sessions. We are working to expand our program to include non-domestic pet therapy, which would see therapy horses and therapy pigs join the program.

Please consider making a contribution to St. Mary’s to help us continue and expand our extraordinary Pet Therapy program. Thank you!

Watch our pet therapy program in action….

The Dodo’s Live Segment