Every Tuesday, Don Packard and Sailor – his Australian Shepherd – head to Yavapai Regional Medical Center (YRMC) in Prescott. Their mission? To bring smiles and comfort to patients at YRMC West as part of the hospital’s Pets Are Warm Support (PAWS) program.
Like all PAWS program therapy dogs, Sailor is specially trained and certified by Pet Partners. The national organization evaluates and tests pet therapy dogs to ensure their health, skills and aptitude meet rigorous standards.
For patients who request a visit from PAWS volunteer, the dogs provide great comfort, especially for people who are missing their own pets at home.
“It gives me satisfaction seeing these folks who don’t get to see dogs,” said Packard. “It does their heart good, and it does mine too.”