NYC hospital brings back dog therapy program for first time since COVID-19 pandemic

New York City Health + Hospitals/Jacobi started using dogs over a decade ago to help patients, but the program was put on hold because of COVID-19. Now, the program is back. 

Kurt Semder and Adolfo Carrion

Nov 23, 2023, 3:25 AM

Updated 228 days ago

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New York City Health + Hospitals/Jacobi started using dogs over a decade ago to help patients, but the program was put on hold because of COVID-19. Now, the program is back. 
Multiple studies show dogs are able to reduce people’s stress and lift people’s morale. Eight-year-old English sheepdog Cooper has spent most of his life doing exactly that.  
Cooper and his trainer Katherine are from Rockland County but are working out of Jacobi as the hospital works to find more teams like them.  
“He not only works at Jacobi, but he's also a reading education assistance dog in the Yonkers public libraries… he's very active, he has more of a job than I do that this point,” said Katherine.  
Dogs and their trainers are required to take a class, pass a test, and then get re-certified every two years.  
Representatives from Jacobi say this year’s class is nearly full but they are taking applications for the next group of therapy dog.


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