Wednesday, July 06, 2011 - Imperial Point Medical Center’s New Animal Assisted Therapy Program Gets a High Five from Patients -- and Pets!
Fort Lauderdale, FL - Broward Health Imperial Point Medical Center (IPMC) was recently visited by a special guest. His name is Koda and he’s a 7-year-old, 85lb Golden Retriever.

Koda, meaning “friend” in Sioux, is part of a new Animal Assisted Therapy (AAT) program at IPMC coordinated by the Humane Society of Broward County. The program was created based on the belief that animals have a positive impact on the lives of humans. Through the initiative, volunteers and their companion animals act as a form of social therapy for patients.

“I am very proud of Bonnie Petrie, our geriatric care manager, and the nursing staff for advocating this program,” said Mark Sprada, CNO of IPMC. “It demonstrates their dedication to the psychosocial needs of their patients.”

On Koda’s visit, he stopped to bring a smile to the faces of inpatients wearing his stethoscope and giving ‘high fives.’

“I just love animals and the unconditional love they give,” said patient Catherine Miller, one of the first patients to receive a visit from Koda. “He’s only been here for five minutes and I feel one hundred percent better right now. It really gives you a boost!”

For patients, the benefits of pet therapy can be physical, mental and emotional. Studies have shown that pet therapy reduces stress and anxiety, lowers a person’s blood pressure and helps elevate mood.

Koda is one of two canine companions to have been approved to volunteer at IPMC but more dogs and their owners will be screened for future therapeutic visits.

All animals used in the AAT program must be at least one year old to participate. Each animal must meet the veterinary health and vaccination requirements, and receive a complete physical examination. For further information about the pet therapy program at IPMC, call the Imperial Care Manager, Bonnie Petrie at 954.776.8961.

Broward Health, providing service for more than 50 years, is a nationally recognized system offering world class health care services to our neighbors in South Florida. One of the 10 largest public health systems in the nation, Broward Health includes Imperial Point Medical Center, Broward General Medical Center, North Broward Medical Center, Coral Springs Medical Center, Chris Evert Children’s Hospital, Broward Health Weston and more than 30 facilities of the Community Health Services and Broward Health Physician Group. For more information, visit

7-year-old Golden Retriever, Koda, meets Christine Noel, RN
7-year-old Golden Retriever, Koda, meets Christine Noel, RN.