New therapy dog helps during oncology treatments

New therapy dog helps during oncology treatments

  • By IAN FOLEY
  • Tuesday, March 3, 2015 11:14pm
  • News

At Peninsula Radiation Oncology in Soldotna, a new therapy is available to help patients cope with cancer treatment.

Her name is LC, a 12-year-old English Setter.

As a certified therapy dog, LC is regularly present in the building’s lobby to help patients relax and relieve stress before receiving treatment.

Before becoming certified more than a year ago, LC was the pet of Dr. James Blom, one of the center’s radiation oncologists. Now, she is part of the treatment center’s family.

“She has been such a joy, and such a blessing for each and every patient,” said Jennifer Bostelman, Peninsula Radiation Oncology front office coordinator.

Bostelman said that LC has made a big difference in patients’ lives. One example of LC’s calming influence she cited was when a patient had extremely high blood pressure and couldn’t be treated without first calming down. Bostelman said the patient opted to sit in the lobby and pet LC instead of treating her blood pressure at the hospital.

“It wasn’t 20 or 30 minutes later she went back in [the treatment room] and took her blood pressure and she was perfectly fine, and she was able to get treated,” Bostelman said.

Bostelman said similar stories are not uncommon at Peninsula Radiation Oncology.

Soldotna isn’t the only place where therapy dogs are used. They are becoming common at hospitals throughout the nation including the Mayo Clinic, and the Memorial Sloan Kettering Cancer Center.

According to the Memorial Sloan Kettering Cancer Center, which has been using therapy dogs since 2007, canines have many therapeutic benefits including reducing anxiety, providing a comfortable environment, and decreasing the need for pain medicine.

While therapy dogs have proven benefits, people who are uncomfortable around dogs need only notify Peninsula Radiation Oncology and LC can be removed. Peninsula Radiation Oncology also posts signs warning people that a therapy dog is present, however, Bostelman said there has never been any problems with LC.

“She’s just so well behaved,” she said. “As soon as the door opens she’s greeting our patients. She comes over and has a seat with them, and they pet her until it’s time to go get their treatment.”

LC has become so popular that patients regularly bring her treats and take her for walks outside the hospital. LC was even given her own business cards.

Bostelman said LC has made a big difference in the lives of patients.

“She has brought so much joy and peace to our patients,” she said. “They’re so grateful.”

 

Reach Ian Foley at Ian.foley@peninsulaclarion.com

Kenai Radiation Oncology Center Office Environmental Portraits

Kenai Radiation Oncology Center Office Environmental Portraits

More in News

Poppies are affixed to wreaths during a Memorial Day ceremony at Leif Hanson Memorial Park in Kenai on Monday. (Jake Dye/Peninsula Clarion)
Remembering the sacrifices of the fallen

Speakers ask community to be inspired through sacrifice of service members

A fallen tree reaches onto Kalifornsky Beach Road in Soldotna, Alaska, as cars drive by on Friday, Sept. 1, 2023. (Jake Dye/Peninsula Clarion)
Grants, borough to support HEA effort to mitigate dangerous trees

HEA will have permission to enter borough land and the borough’s right of way

Assembly President Brent Johnson asks questions of representatives of the Kenai Peninsula Borough School District during a joint work session of the School Board and Kenai Peninsula Borough Assembly in Soldotna, Alaska, on Tuesday, April 2, 2024. (Jake Dye/Peninsula Clarion)
Borough to enter contract for asbestos flooring abatement in 3 central peninsula schools

The work will be done at Kenai Central High, Kenai Alternative High and Sterling Elementary schools

Alaska State Troopers logo.
1 dead, 3 missing after boat capsizes near Seward

Alaska State Troopers were notified by the U.S. Coast Guard of an overturned vessel around 1:30 p.m. on Wednesday

Kenai Central High School stands under clear skies in Kenai, Alaska, on Thursday, May 23, 2024. (Jake Dye/Peninsula Clarion)
Borough approves contract for KCHS parking lot rehabilitation

Soldotna-based Foster Construction will be awarded the bid of $648,997 to complete the project

Central Peninsula Hospital is seen in Soldotna on Wednesday, Oct. 13, 2021. (Camille Botello/Peninsula Clarion)
Central Peninsula Hospital to host Cancer Survivor’s Day event

The event will take place Sunday, June 2 from 1 p.m. to 3 p.m.

Jake Dye/Peninsula Clarion
Rep. Ben Carpenter, R-Nikiski, speaks to the joint Soldotna and Kenai chambers of commerce at the Soldotna Regional Sports Complex on Wednesday.
Carpenter gives wrap up on session as he nears end of House term

Carpenter is seeking election to state Senate District D

(from left to right) Jachin Sanchez, Carter Lemons, Rowan Mahoney, Adelyn McCorison and Taylor Rickard graduated from Ninilchik School on Monday, May 13, 2024 in Ninilchik, Alaska. Photo provided by Mattea Peters-Williamson
Ninilchik graduates 5 in 2024 commencement

The school held the ceremony Monday, May 13

Most Read