At a Zanesville, Ohio, dental practice, one member of the staff makes people actually look forward to their appointments.
A few days a week, a 1-year-old Labradoodle named Dwight goes to work with his mom, a dental hygenist, at Sulens Dental Studio. The mild-tempered pup greets anxious patients and helps take their mind off their fears.
Dwight began his training as a therapy dog at 12 weeks old and continues to practice with trainers twice a week at his puppy school and the dental office. But from the moment his mom brought him home, she knew he’d be perfect for the job.
“Dwight was definitely born to be a therapy dog,” Jensen McVey, Dwight’s trainer, told The Dodo. “He is extremely sweet and has never met a stranger!”
“Dwight can definitely get excited and play when the time calls for it but otherwise he is a calm cuddle bug,” he added. “Dwight is so much fun to work with and every one of my employees loves working with him and loves seeing him come in.”
According to one study, as many as 36 percent of people suffer from dental fear. But Dwight is doing everything he can to help change people’s perception of sitting in the dentist’s chair. Therapy dogs can positively change people’s mood and anxiety — even reducing their perception of pain.
Dwight’s job starts as soon as the patient walks in. He runs to greet them at the door with a big smile and a wagging tail. If the patient needs a little extra help, Dwight is happy to comfort them during their cleaning or procedure.
“He helps to create a fun experience for scared children coming in and provides overall comfort for those in the office,” McVey said. “He is also trained to gently lay and apply pressure for nervous patients or to gently place his paws up so people can pet him and take their mind off of being at the dentist.”
For all his hard work, Dwight gets paid in treats and a monthly BarkBox. But the pup is happiest when he can spend time with his dental family — helping people feel a little bit better every day.