It’s Simple, Unconditional Love: Watching Health First Facility Service Dog Paco With Patients is Magical

The past few years have been tough, and dogs have been a comforting outlet

Dianna Green, Health First’s Director of Clinical Operations at Holmes Regional Medical Center, with Health First Facility Service Dog Paco. The past few years have been tough, Dianna says, and dogs have been a comforting outlet physically, emotionally, mentally and even socially. (Health First image)

Dogs are providing lifesaving comfort for many of us when it comes to reducing loneliness, stress and everyday anxiety we continue to face during the pandemic.

BREVARD COUNTY, FLORIDA – Our four-legged best friends are more than just animals. They’re family with whom we share a magical relationship during the good, bad and tough times – especially throughout the COVID-19 pandemic.

Pets, primarily dogs, have a way of getting to our hearts like no other. Sure, they bring us joy and slobbery greetings at times, but it’s more than that.

The past few years have been tough, and dogs have been a comforting outlet whether it be physically, emotionally, mentally and even socially.

Dianna Green sees this impact firsthand. She’s Health First’s Director of Clinical Operations at Holmes Regional Medical Center and serves as one of our dog handlers, too. It’s pure amazement she witnesses with the positive impact Paco has when interacting with patients.

“Watching Paco, Health First’s Facility Service Dog, with patients has been magical,” said Green.

“It does not matter the situation, when Paco enters a patient’s room, the whole room takes on a different atmosphere. Everyone in the room has their spirits immediately lifted.”

Health First facility service dogs bring joy to patients and associates. Here, Laboratory Supervisor Gail Buckmiller visits with Paco and fellow facility service dogs Lana and Jammer. (Health first image)

It’s the power of pets. They’ve helped to decrease stress, blood pressure, improve heart health and even help children with their emotional and social skills, according to News in Health. Studies have also found that animals can reduce loneliness, increase feelings of social support and boost your overall mood.

And it’s not just patients – our associates, too, are excited to see Paco in each of our four hospitals. The brief interaction pales in comparison to the unconditional love he provides when it comes to sharing smiles and shredding stress.

Unlike us, dogs can’t sense COVID-19. However, they can understand when someone is feeling down, stressed and full of anxiety. And when that happens, it’s a full-on attack with cuddles, comfort and cute gestures filled with sweetness and relief.

“The person might not even realize how stressed they are until that cold nose, tail wagging, four-legged fur baby cuddles up next to you with unconditional love,” Green said. “I have seen Paco go up to a person unnoticed and gently lay his feet on the person’s feet to provide them comfort when they were having a stressful day.”

Because of these benefits and unconditional love, our dogs and other animals are vital when it comes to giving us hope for a better tomorrow. And as things start to get a little clearer, it’s always nice to have companionship and consistency along the way.

“It’s simple, unconditional love,” Green said. “Love is a basic need and dogs help to fill the void.”

Health First’s facility service dogs Lana, Jammer and Paco are used to bring joy, comfort and entertainment to the patients they interact with. (Health First image)
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