Sparrow therapy dogs dig new promotional trading cards

Published: March 21, 2016

Elsa, Gypsy Rose, Moses and Sparrow’s other therapy dogs are howling at the news that they are featured on new promotional trading cards that will be handed out to Patients and visitors at the hospital.

The cards (collect all 13 of them) are designed like any superstar sports or collectors’ cards, befitting the canines’ popularity and their important role in providing comfort and joy to Patients and their families.

Each card features a photo of a Sparrow therapy dog on the front and trading card-like stats about the animal on the back. For instance, you probably didn’t know that Moses, a beautiful Labrador Retriever, is “very sneaky, stealing other dogs’ bones” or that Hallie is in the Golden Retriever Club of America Agility Hall of Fame.

Sparrow will distribute the cards throughout the hospital as the dogs make their regular rounds.

Sparrow therapy dogs are specially trained to provide comfort and encouragement to Patients during their stays. They visit Trauma Services, Pediatrics, and other areas of the hospital, allowing Patients to pet and talk to them and feed them treats. A visit from a therapy dog is inevitably filled with smiles, lifting spirits and bringing joy wherever they go.

“A visit from one of our therapy dogs can help reduce pain, anxiety and depression in Patients,” said Tracy Feazel, Volunteer Coordinator for Sparrow Hospital. “Each of our therapists has his or her own story about how a visit from one of the dogs reduced someone’s anxiety and brought a smile to a Patient’s face.”

The program originated at Sparrow after Physicians reviewed research at other hospitals that indicated Patient satisfaction after total joint replacements rose with dog therapy visits.

“We recently completed a research project to determine if the same was true in Trauma Patients and preliminary results are very positive,” said Penny Stevens, Sparrow’s Trauma Program Manager. “We are grateful to the dogs and handlers who have made this program a success.”

Each pet therapist animal must meet health and testing standards set by Therapy Dogs International, a volunteer group based in New Jersey. Dogs volunteering at Sparrow must be at least two years old and meet additional requirements set by the hospital.

For more information on certifying a therapy dog, call Therapy Dogs International at 973.252.9800. For more information on becoming a Sparrow Volunteer, check out

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