117402788 1218269815194097 1114795361559974052 nIn honor of National Dog Day on Aug. 26, we’re spotlighting one of UofL Health – UofL Hospital’s furriest team members.

Travis, a blonde Labrador, is a facility dog that acts as an exercise partner to those involved in physical or occupational therapy while providing comfort and care to those who need it most.

“Travis really has a way of sensing the patient’s emotions,” said Cathy Gerrish, Travis’ facilitator and UofL Hospital physical therapist. “He knows when to stay back and when to get right in there and lay his head on a patient’s lap.”

Gerrish noted that there is a difference between a facility dog and a therapy dog.

“A facility dog actually comes into work every day and works,” said Gerrish. “A therapy dog comes with a volunteer dog handler to provide comfort to patients. This might occur for a couple of hours once a week.”

Due to the coronavirus pandemic, Travis had to take a leave of absence from the hospital but has been back in the office since May 1.

While on the clock, Travis works to assist the therapists in performing exercises with patients to increase their strength, range of motion and function. Most of the time, the patients don’t even realize they are exercising because they are enjoying time with Travis.

When he’s not with the physical therapy team, Travis works with occupational therapy patients on fine hand motor skills, reaching and functional activities of daily living. Some of the exercises include laying pieces of food on him and picking them up, throwing balls for Travis to retrieve and simply having the patients brush him.

Travis’ biggest asset is his ability to comfort patients in pain. The Outpatient Rehabilitation Department treats a variety of patients, some of which are there for cancer rehab, just having surgery or general orthopedic dysfunctions. Cuddling with him can take their mind off the apprehension of therapy.

Even during these challenging times, Travis still finds ways to keep his patients motivated and relaxed, even while wearing a mask.

Want the ultimate rehab experience? Make an appointment to come see Cathy and Travis in the Outpatient Rehab Department at UofL Hospital by calling 502-562-3457.

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Article by: UofL Health

UofL Health is a fully integrated regional academic health system with eight hospitals, four medical centers, Brown Cancer Center, Eye Institute, nearly 200 physician practice locations, and more than 1,000 providers in Louisville and the surrounding counties, including southern Indiana. Additional access to UofL Health is provided through a partnership with Carroll County Memorial Hospital. With more than 13,000 team members – physicians, surgeons, nurses, pharmacists and other highly-skilled health care professionals, UofL Health is focused on one mission: to transform the health of communities we serve through compassionate, innovative, patient-centered care.

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