A Pawsitive Addition to the Emergency Room Patient Experience
College of Medicine, Department of Sociology, School of Public Health, College of Nursing, University of Saskatchewan; First Nations University of Canada; Saskatchewan Health Authority (Saskatoon); St. John Ambulance Therapy Dog Program (Saskatchewan); Patient Advisors


Funded by University of Saskatchewan, Royal University Hospital Foundation & Saskatchewan Centre for Patient Oriented Research


Animal-assisted interventions have been applied in numerous clinical settings to help reduce patient pain, stress, and anxiety, among other indicators of human wellbeing. Such adverse physical and mental states are commonly experienced in hospital emergency departments, and thus therapy dogs are postulated to potentially decrease these as well as improve the overall emergency department patient experience. The initial study is a pilot evaluation of the St. John Ambulance Therapy Dog program in the emergency department of the Royal University Hospital in Saskatoon, Saskatchewan. Initial results were presented at the Western Emergency Department Operations Conference. Updated findings were presented at U of S Global Health Conference, and practicum student Megan Steeves was a recipient of the Poster Competition award. The paper is published in the Patient Experience Journal. A follow-up control design study specific to patient pain is currently underway, titled ‘A Study of the ‘Pawsitive’ Impacts of Therapy Dog Visits with Adult Emergency Department Pain Patients’. Learn more about the study here.


Therapy Dogs in Trauma
Department of Sociology, School of Public Health, University of Saskatchewan; University of Regina; Saskatoon Health Region; St. John Ambulance Therapy Dog Program (Saskatchewan)

Integrating Therapy Dogs into Saskatchewan’s Coordinated Trauma Response: Essential Actions.  The Humanitarian, SPCA. Colleen Dell, Crystal Petryk, Darlene Chalmers, Leanne Sillers. 2018.