YUMA, Ariz. - In tonight's Making a Difference, we are highlighting a pet visitation program offered at Yuma regional medical center.
"Dogs love it, I love it. The patients, staff and visitors all love it, so it's a win win for everybody."
This is Laura McDaniel and the "it" she is referring to is the "Tails of Joy" program at YRMC. A program that allows volunteers to bring in dogs to visit patients and staff at the hospital.
"A friend of mine told me about it and convinced me that it's something i should and i'm glad that i did it. I have three dogs that i bring to the hospital and this is just one of them," said McDDaniel.
Meet Tuesday, a schnauzer rescue that is now making a difference in patients and employees lives on a daily basis. At 8 years old, she still has a lot of life left in her. The idea of "Tails of Joy" has been at YRMC for years and they currently have 12 dogs of all breeds on their staff.
"It's not a new concept, it's a program that's been around for many, many years and it was something that we wanted to initiate here, to create here, because we see the benefits," said Hammonds.
Elizabeth Hammond, the director of volunteer services at the hospital explains the impact, dogs like Tuesday make when arriving at a patients bedside.
"Once we bring in these dogs, it really does change their attitude for even just a few minutes," said Hammonds.
The steps of becoming a handler and bringing your dog to the hospital isn't a rigorous one, it's a process staff encourages the public to try out.
"There is a testing that needs to be done with the handler and then the dogs are tested on their skills and their aptitude test. We just wanna make sure that they're a really good fit for us here," said Hammonds.
It was apparent when walking around that these dogs bring joy to not just the patients, but also bring smiles to the nursing staff and employees.
" It is a wonderful program. If you love being with your dog and your dogs loves people and you like interacting with people and being out and about, it's a fantastic volunteer program to be apart of," said McDaniel.
If you are interested in becoming a handler, you must apply at www.petpartners.org and through that website it will tell you how to get started.
You can also contact Elizabeth Hammonds at