VIDEO: John Muir Hospital celebrating National Rehabilitation Awareness week with exotic therapy animals

 

WALNUT CREEK (KRON) — When it comes to therapy animals, we usually think of a dog or a cat and maybe a horse.

But on Wednesday, John Muir Hospital in Walnut Creek celebrated National Rehabilitation Awareness week with some exotic therapy animals.

A camel named Marcello came to John Muir Hospital in Walnut Creek to help celebrate.

She was just one of several exotic animals that have been trained in patient rehabilitation.

John Muir hospital has a well-established pet therapy program but having exotic pets is a special moment for patients and staff.

“We have the regular pet therapy dogs, but this one is a day where patients have the opportunity, and staff, really to come out and enjoy exotic animals who are therapy trained.”

The animals come from Lyon Ranch, an organization that rescues exotic animals and trains them.

“They’re therapy animals, and we go to hospitals, nursing homes, senior facilities,” Lyon Ranch Co-Founder Rob Lyon said.

Hospital staff and the animal handlers are convinced that animal therapy is effective.

“They had a patient that was in physical therapy, and he hadn’t been moving his hand, and I handed scarlet to the patient, and he reached out to take scarlet, and the therapist was so happy and so excited,” hospital volunteer Linda Weir said. “It was a very special thing to show that animals have a healing power.”

The smiles from the patients are the best therapy.

 

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