Therapy dog now working to help local cancer survivors


Cancer survivors will have a new source of comfort while visiting the 24 Hours in the Cancer Survivorship Center, Sam the therapy dog.

“He will be engaging with our survivors and activities and classes they have and just really be a resource they can talk to and love on and hopefully just increase their wellness,” said Ryan Parnell, the Director of the 24 Hours in the Canyon Cancer Survivorship Center.

Sam’s handler, Brenda Hutson tells us she wanted to get him certified because she saw he was able to help her mom through cancer treatment.    

“The benefit of what I saw him be able to do with my mom throughout her chemo this past year and how that incredibly helped her with reducing stress and improving her mood and just the overall positive attitude with it,” added Hutson.

Parnell says they haven’t seen therapy dogs being used locally to help cancer patients so they are glad to be the first.

“We think it is very important to do things differently and do things that really help folks because we are all about wellness and wellness looks like a lot of things but if being around a therapy dog while they are here helps their wellness, we are all for it.”

Hutson says a lot of work goes into getting him certified but the response from the people he helps makes it all worth it.

“It greatly reduces their blood pressure, their stress level, their anxiety, it is something that can change their whole attitude and outlook so that couple minutes is well worst everything just to see him lay his head down or touch his paw to somebody and bring a smile to their face,” added Hutson.

Hutson is also getting her masters to be a licensed professional counselor so she can incorporate that into help the cancer survivors as well.

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