About Pups with Purpose
Did you know that the simple act of petting a dog can improve your mood, reduce stress, offer pain relief, enhance your fitness level, and lower your heart rate and blood pressure? Numerous studies from around the world show there are health benefits to spending time with dogs. In fact, the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention have research showing that pets can lower blood pressure, decrease cholesterol and triglyceride levels, and decrease a person’s feelings of loneliness. For this reason, Ladies Hospital Aid Society (LHAS) created the Pups with Purpose program, so that patients in hospitals and care facilities can benefit from a visit with one of our certified therapy dogs.
- The act of petting an animal releases oxytocin (the “love” hormone), which gives an individual a higher morale and less lonely feelings.
- Being with a dog for 5 minutes can lower an individual’s cortisol levels (“stress” hormone).
- Dog owners are nine times more likely to be alive one year after a heart attack than individuals who do not own a pet.
Our goals are simple:
1. To increase the number of therapy dogs in our community
Therapy dogs provide comfort and companionship. We service many locations in our community from healthcare facilities, educational institutions, and libraries as well as individual residences and organizations as requested. We welcome visits wherever we are needed.
2. To offer funding to those individuals in need of medical service dogs
We understand how expensive it is to train medical service dogs. These dogs can be used to help those with a wide range of medical conditions including: those living with seizures and other medical conditions, children with autism, and even veterans with Post Traumatic Stress Disorder. The proceeds from our annual Black and White Bash are used to help underwrite the funding for those who need medical service dogs.
Pet Therapy Visits
Our therapy dogs, accompanied by their handlers, make appearances at hospitals, nursing homes, educational institutions, and other organizations in the Pittsburgh area. Upon request, one of our certified therapy dogs and its handler can visit you at your place of residence or educational institution.
Pet Therapy Walks
You may request to take a relaxing walk while accompanied by one of our therapy dogs and its handler.
Pet Therapy Prayer and Conversation
This service provides the opportunity for prayer and conversation with a spiritual leader along with the added dimension of healing and comfort provided by one of our therapy dogs. While typically performed at the hospital’s chapel, a request may be made to have the appointment in a patient’s room.
Pet Memorial Service
A biannual memorial service is held during the months of June and December in order to provide support and comfort to pet owners during their time of grief. Refreshments are provided after the service.
Family and Friends Pet Walk
Group walks with our furry friends are scheduled throughout the year and may be attended by any individual who would like to get some exercise and engage in stimulating conversation.
Schedule a Visit
If you would like to take advantage of one of our services, please contact the LHAS office.
Wish Bone Recognition
For a donation of $25, you may purchase a Wish Bone in memory or honor of a pet. Wish Bones will be on display at the annual Black and White Bash, which supports our Pups with Purpose program.