Pet Therapy Ministry
Friendly faces are always nice to see when you or a loved one are in the hospital. Dr. Roger Taylor, pastor at Aberdeen Baptist Church, and his Yorkshire Terriers, Sir Bentley and Lady Betsy, hope to be those faces for patients who are facing long stays or difficult recoveries.
For Dr. Taylor, this journey started when his mother was diagnosed with a terminal illness and had an extended stay at Owensboro Health Regional Hospital. “I had a Yorkshire Terrier that I brought to visit mom. The nurses talked to me about joining the pet therapy program.
” After seeing what an impact dogs could have on the ill, Dr. Taylor knew he wanted to join OHRH as a pet therapy volunteer.
Sir Bentley started obedience training at five and a half months of age while Lady Betsy began her training at four months.
“If you come over to my house and ring my bell my dogs will bark and bark, but they have never barked at the hospital,” says Dr. Taylor. “When we put on the badge and say we’re
going to work they just know.” That’s not the only thing these tiny dogs seem to know. Dr. Taylor says that all the pet therapy dogs have a connection with people that are ill, “They seem to have a sixth sense.”
Dr. Taylor volunteers at OHRH on Mondays, his day off. He does not take the dogs to Bowling Green Hospitals where he visits as a minister. What started as a hobby for Taylor has grown into it's own ministry. He is presently working with networking with "Childcraft" which is the group that provided Pet Therapy programs for Kosairs.
Patients can request a visit from a pet during their stay and the pet therapy volunteers will do their best to accommodate. At this time, referrals are often made by floor supervisors or chaplains so that volunteers know where to go when they arrive.
While it is true that the pet therapy program is there for patients, Dr. Taylor finds that nurses and doctors benefit just as much from the program. During a stressful shift he says that many doctors and nurses will come visit two or three times.
“They get as much pleasure as the patients do.”
No matter whom they are interacting with, Dr. Taylor, Sir Bentley, and Lady Betsy have the same goal as Owensboro Health: to heal the sick and to improve the health of the community. Having come from a background of ministry, Dr. Taylor already believes there is more to healing and health than meets the eye but seeing the impact that Sir Bentley and Lady Betsy have on a patient’s sense of well-being confirms that more and more each day.
Featured in Owensboro Parent Magazine- Pet Edition