Patients undergo dog therapy

Tuesday, July 1st 2008, 4:11 pm
By: News 9

By Audrey Esther, INsite Team

OKLAHOMA CITY -- For several hours a week Boz is a common companion in an unlikely place. Boz the therapy dog weaves in and out of hospital rooms greeting patients with slobbery wet kisses and a wagging tale. Always by his side is urologist Dr. Philip Mosca.

"Hi I'm Dr. Mosca. I have a therapy dog with me," Mosca told patient Amy True.

The duo and their routine are familiar at INTEGRIS Southwest Medical Center.

"Would you like to see the therapy dog?" Mosca asked while Boz waited patiently at Mosca's feet.

Mosca and Boz make their rounds about three days a week. They visit a lot of patients and family members like Norma Worthington.

"I was telling her that our little puppy at home has to fend for himself until we get home." Worthington said of her daughter Amy who has a closed head injury. "When Boz came in I saw her brighten up."

Mosca said Boz's visits do more than just brighten a patient's day.

"When you see how the patients respond it's a great thing, and for a physician it's another dimension of healing," Mosca said.

Boz and Mosca's visits are healing for the hospital staff too.

"He puts everybody in a good mood, not just the patients, but the nurses and me," said INTEGRIS health unit clerk Barabra Mobbs while she petted Boz at her desk.

It's remarkable however that Boz is as friendly as he is. Mosca adopted him from the Tulsa Boxer Rescue and because of that it's likely the 5-year-old Boxer was abused.

Boz then received certified therapy dog training at Creatures and Kids Inc. Mosca encourages other doctors to train and use therapy dogs like Boz.

"I thought ‘This is impossible'. I'll never be able to do this. It'll take me 10 years to do this, but it doesn't. Surprisingly it took very little time," Mosca said.

"You get tired of seeing just nurses and doctors," said patient Eileen Kozak after visiting with Boz. "Getting to see a dog that's really nice."

INTEGRIS said it has plans to expand its therapy dog program.