Oral Health Group

A Patient’s Best Friend: Dentist Trains Emotional Support Dog to Ease Patient Anxiety

January 7, 2020
by The Republic

A local dentist’s office has brought in a specially-trained, but rather unconventional, assistant to help take the edge off for patients with dental care anxiety.

With a red vest strapped around her torso and a seemingly uncanny ability to charm patients, Lucy, a 2-year-old rescued blue heeler mutt, has been making the rounds at Tipton Lakes Family Dentist, 4570 W. Jonathan Moore Pike, since late July. She’s working to help patients feel more comfortable as they receive dental treatment.

“We’ve got her trained already to sit with kids,” said Dr. Christopher Bartels, who owns Lucy’ and the practice at Tipton Lakes Family Dentist. “While we’re working, she’ll come in and stop in each operatory. If the patient reaches their hand out, she’ll let them pet for a minute. If a patient ignores her like they don’t want to deal with her, then she’ll just go on to the next room.”

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