NYU Winthrop’s Animals Give Support program (WAGS) brings dogs like Schnoodles and Oliver to visit and help ease stress among hospital-goers. (Photo: NYU Winthrop Hospital)
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Pups for patients at NYU Winthrop

NYU Winthrop Hospital is going to the dogs.

The Mineola hospital just launched a new pet therapy program that connects certified pet therapy dogs with patients and visitors.

Called Winthrop’s Animals Give Support (WAGS), the program brings in dogs to help ease stress among hospital-goers.

WAGS was created in conjunction with the nonprofit Pet Partners, a national leader in pet therapy programs, and Bideawee, a leading no-kill pet rescue organization serving Long Island and the metropolitan area. 

Schnoodles, a schnauzer poodle, and Oliver, a miniature goldendoodle, are two of the pups that visited patients at the hospital last week.

The program is expected to operate twice weekly at first, with the hope that it will grow to include daily dog visits.

Studies have also shown that pet therapy visits can help patients’ health. Fibromyalgia patients, for example, showed significant improvements in pain and mood from pet therapy, and pediatric cancer patients were better motivated to participate in treatment protocols. 

“At NYU Winthrop Hospital, we take a holistic view of our patient care, not just addressing the physical health of our patients but their mental and spiritual needs as well,” said Jean Zebroski, director of volunteer services at NYU Winthrop. “Petting or hugging an adorable dog can be such a stress reliever, and so many of our patients have pets as well, so these visits are warm reminders of their best friends waiting for them at home.”

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