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Mount Nittany Health launches new Pet Therapy Program

2 min read

Mount Nittany Health is pleased to announce the launch of a new Pet Therapy Program at Mount Nittany Medical Center, aimed at enhancing the overall well-being of our patients, staff, and the Centre region. This initiative comes after months of planning and research indicating the many benefits that pet therapy can offer in a healthcare setting.

The dogs participating in Mount Nittany Health’s Pet Therapy Program undergo strict testing processes, and are certified through organizations that include the Alliance of Therapy Dogs and Therapy Dogs International; both recognized by the American Kennel Club (AKC) as experts in their field. All dogs are tested and evaluated by certified trainers who look for well-mannered, well-behaved dogs that enjoy people, and thrive in medical settings, schools, and other institutions.

Steve Sinclair, MSN, BSN, RN, House Supervisor, Nursing Administration, helped develop the program as part of his master’s degree capstone project. “Mount Nittany Medical Center’s Pet Therapy Program is a testament to our commitment to compassionate patient care,” said Sinclair. “We believe in the power of these specialty trained therapy dogs to provide comfort and companionship to our patients, ultimately reducing their stress and anxiety levels. This program aligns with our mission, and we look forward to seeing the positive impact it will have on our patients, staff, and community.”

Beyond the walls of the Medical Center, this initiative reflects our commitment to the local community. By offering pet therapy services, we are fostering connections with volunteers and their furry companions who are eager to give back and make a difference in the lives of those we serve.

“This program is not just about bringing smiles to our patients and colleagues,” said Charlene Diehl, MSN, RN, CENP, CCRN, Director, Diagnostic and Ancillary Services, Mount Nittany Health. “It’s about fostering a sense of hope, connection, and community. Our new volunteers and their specialty trained dogs are ready to make a profound difference, and I know I speak for many when I say that I can’t wait to witness the positive impact they have on patient care at Mount Nittany Medical Center.”

The dedicated volunteers began their training on Friday, October 13th, and we anticipate that their one-hour shifts in the following weeks will bring joy and comfort to patients of all ages.

If you are interested in learning more about volunteering, please contact Monique Behrer at