Promoting literacy in schools, soothing fears in the courthouse, comforting pediatric patients, medically fragile children, cognitively and physically challenged children, and teens struggling with anxiety, stress and grief.

The ‘Human-Canine Connection’ Presented to the Village Improvement Association

Diane Smith with Roxy and Jim Brezler CEO Doylestown Health
Roxy Reading Therapy Dog President Diane Smith and Jim Brezler CEO Doylestown Health.

Roxy Reading Therapy Dog (RRTD) President Diane Smith presented “The Human-Canine Connection” to Village improvement Association (VIA) members at their monthly meeting in January. The meeting was held at the Doylestown Health Wellness Center in Warrington.

Smith presented a wide variety of scientific studies from around the world whose findings suggest that interaction with canines may help reduce the biological effects of stress that influences human health.  VIA attendees learned about Animal Assisted Intervention (AAI) and its direct influence on health including studies by the Japanese Animal Hospital Association that indicate pet owners over 65 years old made 30% fewer visits to doctors than non-pet owners, and additional Australian studies by the Baker Medical Research Institute that found canine relationships lower blood pressure and cholesterol level, therefore diminishing risk of heart attack.

Smith presented additional health-related information from Sharon Sakson’s book Paws & Effect: The Healing Power of Dogs which indicated other health benefits of canine interaction, especially for coronary care patients who lived an average of a year longer when owning a pet.  Smith also presented details from Sakson’s book including studies by University of California-Davis which stated people with pets were approached 10 times more frequently when with their pets.

Roxy Reading Therapy Dogs presented to VIA members as part of its on-going relationship which formed between the two groups when RRTD was selected as the exclusive provider of canine therapy to the new Della Penna Pediatric Center at Doylestown Hospital in 2015.

“It was a privilege and honor to share my knowledge of the canine-human connection to Doylestown Health CEO, Jim Brexler, and the ladies of the VIA. The VIA and RRTD share an interest in enhancing the quality of life in our area through service,” says RRTD President Diane Smith. 

RRTD President Diane Smith, VIA President Linda McIlhinney, and RRTD Director of Schools Sharon Fleck
Roxy Reading Therapy Dog President Diane Smith, VIA President Linda McIlhinney, and RRTD Director of Schools Sharon Fleck.

In addition to Smith’s keynote address, RRTD Board Chair Linda McCrillis and Director of Schools Sharon Fleck also presented. Other RRTD board members in attendance included Anne Hoy and her dog Irina, Cecile Balizet and dog Claire, Sharon Fleck and dog Bud, Linda McCrillis and dog Maggie. 

About Roxy Reading Therapy Dogs (RRTD)

Roxy Reading is a donation dependent 501 c 3  whose registered pet therapy teams promote literacy in schools, deliver comfort to children navigating the court system, bring relief to young victims of violent crimes, provide support to Doylestown Health pediatric patients and medically fragile youth residing in group homes.  All services are provided by unpaid volunteers, free of charge.

About the Village Improvement Association (VIA)

In 1923, the VIA opened Doylestown Hospital and today, VIA members continue to oversee the governance of this award-winning healthcare system. The organization has grown to more than 300 members and still pursues the goals of the founding members through service and education.

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