Overcoming dental anxiety with our therapy dog (in training!)
Here at Sturgill Orthodontics, we know that orthodontic appointments can sometimes feel a bit overwhelming, especially the first one. It’s not unusual to feel nervous about that initial visit, and even the ones that come after. That’s exactly why we decided to adopt Louie!
Louie is a Golden Retriever, a therapy dog in training, and a big old bundle of furry love. When considering how to make appointments as stress-free as possible for our patients, we knew we wanted to find a way to help them relax and focus on something other than their anxiety. Research has shown that therapy animals, especially canines, can provide emotional, psychological, and physical support to those who need it. In fact, just seeing a dog can have positive effects on the body, while petting one can improve our mood and even lower our blood pressure.
Dr. Sturgill and his family have always loved golden retrievers. Many of our patients are familiar with Patton, the resident pup at Dr. Riley Sturgill’s endodontic practice. Having a therapy dog at Sturgill Orthodontics has been a goal of ours for a long time, so when the opportunity arose locally to give Louie a home, Dr. Sturgill jumped at the chance!
Louie is still a bit of a baby at just 9 weeks old, but he’s growing and learning more every day. As he gets older, he’ll be receiving professional training to become our office’s official emotional support animal. His training will focus on obedience, impulse control, and how to maintain a gentle temperament around his human friends.
By welcoming Louie into our office, it is our hope that he will help patients feel more connected and grounded, with less stress and more zen. We also believe that Louie will contribute to a more relaxed and laid back office environment, one that feels calm and welcoming. All of these improvements increase the likelihood of a positive orthodontic experience, something our practice truly strives for.
Sturgill Orthodontics is devoted to creating beautiful smiles, and Louie will truly give you something to smile about! We’re proud to be the first orthodontic practice in the Tri-Cities area to utilize pet therapy. Our ultimate goal is for every patient to enter our office feeling welcomed, safe, and happy! We know that Louie will be an important part of that going forward.
Plus, he’s adorable! Just look at that sweet face—who can resist the power of paw-sitivity when this happy ball of fluff is around?!
If you or your child are feeling anxious about an upcoming visit, give us a call and we’ll schedule Louie for an appearance during your appointment! You can also ask one of our team members what he’s up to when you’re in the office. If he’s not in the middle of an epic puppy snooze, we’ll be happy to bring him to you for a quick cuddle.