© 2024 Michigan State University Board of Trustees
Public Media from Michigan State University
Play Live Radio
Next Up:
0:00 0:00
Available On Air Stations
TECHNOTE: 90.5 FM and AM870 reception

Sparrow Hospital launches trading cards featuring therapy dogs

Sparrow Hospital's therapy dog trading cards.
Sparrow Hospital
Patients and visitors at Lansing’s Sparrow Hospital can now collect trading cards during their stay that feature the hospital’s fleet of therapy dogs.

They look like the trading cards you might see for a famous athlete, with a picture on one side and stats on the other. But there’s one big difference. This line of cards features Sparrow Hospital’s fleet of therapy dogs.

Take the hospital’s first full-time therapy dog Lilo, for example. According to her card, the bernedoodle will wag her tail in small circles when happy.

Sparrow employees will be distributing the cards throughout the hospital as the dogs make their regular rounds.

Sparrow dog handler Penny Russell says she hopes the cards remind patients of the joy therapy dogs bring them, even when they’re not around.

"Our goal is to try to touch as many people as we can," Russel added.

Tracy Feazel, the hospital’s volunteer coordinator, says therapy dogs can sense when someone needs comfort.

"The dog just knows and is able to just sense it and go to those that are hurting, and just help them through that time," She said.

A 2015 pain management study demonstrated that interactions with therapy dogs can help reduce stress levels during blood collection procedures. Russell says hospital staff have noticed similar effects in patients at Sparrow.

"[One day] they asked me to go into one room where there was this little boy and he would cry and Lilo walked through the door and she just pulled up on the bed and nuzzled her nose into his stomach and he just started giggling," she said.

There are ten trading cards in total.

As WKAR's Bilingual Latinx Stories Reporter, Michelle reports in both English and Spanish on stories affecting Michigan's Latinx community.
To help strengthen our local reporting as WKAR's fiscal year ends, we need 75 new or upgraded sustainers by June 30th. Become a new monthly donor or increase your donation to support the trustworthy journalism you'll rely on before Election Day. Donate now.