Going to the dentist isn’t exactly the kinda thing that’ll make you wag your tail, but one pooch is making the daunting task a little less scary.
JoJo the golden retriever works at Pediatric Dentistry of Northbrook in Illinois, helping to ease patients’ anxiety and keep them calm during their appointments, according to the practice’s website. The pooch, who’s a trained comfort dog, has been visiting the dentistry once a month and she’s had a positive effect on the kids she meets.
“A lot of the patients who normally were very apprehensive about even walking in the door now look forward to their appointments,” Veronica Renteria, clinic staffer, told the Dodo. “The moment you walk in, you feel very relaxed. There she is, waiting for you to pet her.”
JoJo, who even has a spot on the dentistry’s staff page, sits in on appointments with patients who’ve requested her presence. During the appointment, kids can pet the pooch while JoJo calmly sits or lies with the child.
“Her paw is always available to hold,” Lynne Ryan, dental assistant and one of the pooch’s handlers, told BuzzFeed. “One girl was having her teeth extracted and she just stroked JoJo’s ears the whole time.”
While JoJo’s presence is certainly delightful, the staff is aware that the pup, who’s had the gig for about a year, isn’t for everyone. So the office takes precautions to make sure all encounters with the golden retriever are pleasant ones.
“We try not to surprise other children with her and keep her in a separate room. We understand some children are afraid of dogs and others have allergies,” Dr. Tom Resnick told The Huffington Post. “Since JoJo only interacts with children who want her it has been nearly 100 percent successful.”
Jojo lends her soothing powers to other causes beyond the dentist. The dog visits nursing homes and centers for individuals with disabilities, BuzzFeed reported. She also comforted students at Sandy Hook Elementary School following the 2012 tragedy, according to ABC News.
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