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  • Chris McMurray

Therapy dog - a patient's best friend

Have you heard about our therapy dog Queenie? She's cute and fluffy and loves a belly rub, but why is she in a dental clinic?

One third of people experience anxiety or fear when visiting the dentist. A therapy dog can help counteract this by being a calming influence and providing comfort and support to patients. Queenie is a cavalier king charles spaniel and was the first dental therapy dog in South Australia. She's teeny tiny weighing in at just 3.5 kg and has the perfect temperament for her job.

Queenie spends the day in the waiting room where she greets each of our patients. Often our patients comment that they feel more relaxed by simply giving her a pat before and after their appointment. For those patients who would like some extra comfort Queenie is also trained to lay on patients' laps during dental treatment. We maintain strict hygiene and infection control standards to ensure that this is safe for all involved. For those patients who don't like dogs we simply give Queenie a little time to play in the garden.

We have received an overwhelmingly positive response from patients both young and old. One patient in particular stands out whose dental anxiety meant that for years she would only come in when she was in severe pain. The last time this happened she met Queenie who curled up on her lap while she was having treatment. Our patient found the experience so good that she has since come in for a check-up, clean and some fillings. The best part is that she isn't worried at all about her next appointment.

And what does Queenie think of all this? She's a social butterfly who loves the attention so she thinks she has the best job in the world!

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