Melody Teh

News

Wed, 8 Apr, 2015

Meet Pearl: she’s a therapy llama who cheers up hospital patients

Meet Pearl: she’s a therapy llama who cheers up hospital patients

A therapy llama named Pearl visited patients at Methodist Le Bonheur Germantown Hospital in Tennessee this past Tuesday.

As part of the hospital’s animal therapy program, Pearl brought many smiles to many faces during her visit.

“Seeing the llama definitely brightened my day, and it brightens the patients' day and it makes their stay a little better,” Blair Slater, a nursing student, told WMC.

Pearl is part of Mid South Therapy Dogs and Friends, a nonprofit that visits hospitals, schools, libraries and other spots with furry friends in tow.

While a llama may seem like an unlikely choice of therapy animal, Pearl’s handler says she’s a calm and patient llama who’s been part of the Mid South Therapy Dogs and Friends, a therapy animal organization, for about six years.

Diane Ridgway, chief operating officer and vice president of the hospital's patient care, says therapy animals have many benefits.

“Studies show simply petting an animal lowers the level of cortisol, a stress hormone, so patients are less stressed," Ridgway said. “Studies also show dopamine, a blood chemical associated with happiness goes up.”

Image credit: WMC Action News