Basil the beagle calms patients

Basil the beagle calms patients

The Ipswich Star reports that Community Dental Services CIC, who operate eight clinics across Suffolk, have recruited Basil, a six year-old beagle, to offer comfort and distraction for anxious patients. Senior dental nurse, Jacci Plant, who is Basil’s owner, had the idea to train as a pet therapy practitioner.

It is a new concept in the UK, although there are reports of similar schemes in the USA. CDS-CIC, are piloting the pet therapy programme in selected locations and are identifying patients who may benefit from being accompanied by Basil during their treatments.

Jacci Plant, told the paper: “Pet therapy is something I have always been interested in and I knew Basil had the ideal temperament to make a fantastic therapy dog because of his wonderful calm nature around people and his friendly personality. I also knew that pet therapy worked well in other clinical settings or where people have additional needs such as mental health issues or learning disabilities. CDS supported me to source and follow a suitable course and 18 months on I am a qualified Animal Assisted Practitioner. We are now working to identify patients where pet therapy may help them with their treatment and offer it to them as an option.”

Mrs Plant, who has been with CDS for 17 years, said: “Basil will be able to accompany a patient into the surgery, and they can pat him while they in the chair and are being treated. We have a wide range of patients including those with additional needs, with phobic problems and who need sedation. Hopefully having a dog with them will help them to relax more.”

Amy Schiller, operations director for CDS, said: “We provide special care and paediatric dentistry and many of our patients, adults and children, have additional needs or severe dental anxiety and may require extensive treatment. Reducing anxiety is very important and Basil will be one technique we can use to help patients relax and feel more comfortable about having treatment. Overall this is important, because with some patients it may make all the difference between being able to tolerate treatment without more invasive means such as sedation.”

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