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Pet Therapy for Residents

Therapy Dogs at Eskenazi Health

Gus, registered therapy dog, greets patients and visitors at Eskenazi Health

Much like the therapy dogs that visit each of the downtown hospitals to share their affection and cheer, animal lovers can incorporate having their own canine companion into part of a healthy program of well-being and mindfulness. Having a dog in residency is a challenge, but can definitely be worth it, with a devoted animal companion looking forward to you after a long day working in the hospitals and clinics. Working long hours can be much more bearable when you know that a smiling bundle of love is waiting for you at home. Here are some tips to get the most out of having a dog in residency:

Invest in a dog walker

Leaving a dog alone for 12+ hours a day will not only make your dog bored and more likely to act out, but it will make your job harder when you get home. A dog that has been cooped up all day will expect a lot of attention and activity right when you get
home, which can be difficult to provide after a long day at work.

Here are a list of some local, recommended dog walkers:
1. Indy Mutts: Ashley is amazing with dogs and understands a resident’s busy schedule. She also takes wonderful pictures of the dogs.,
2. Simply Pawsitive Pet: Sandy is very dependable and takes great pictures of the dogs as well.,

Try doggie daycare for daytime care

Many of these offer pick-up and drop-off services. Additionally, your dog will be exhausted when she comes home, ready for snuggles and bed with you! Here are some recommended daycares for your pooch to socialize while you are at work earning the kibble:
1. Uptown Pup: 2112 E 54th St. Indianapolis, IN 46220, (317) 757-8509,
2. Indy Downtown Doggie: 925 E Vermont St. Indianapolis, IN 46202, 317-979- 2665,
3. Indy Hound: 1025 N New Jersey St. Indianapolis, IN 46202, 317-840- 8863,

Pet friendly places for you and your pup

When you do have weekends off, there are tons of great ways to spend the days with your dog! Whether its summer or winter, there are plenty of activities that are dog friendly. Here are some examples:
1. Bark in the Park at the Indianapolis Indians games: held semiannually, last year in April and August, a pet-friendly way to socialize your dogs and enjoy our AAA team. Tickets are purchased via e-mail at
2. Nature walks at the following locations: Holliday Park, Eagle Creek, Fort Ben Harrison. If you get to any of these locations early enough you can often get by without a leash and let your *well-behaved* dog run free (illegally, but hey).
3. Mass Ave: stroll along with your pooch and get a pup cup at Starbucks, stop in some of the gift shops (Silver in the City is dog friendly), and eat at one of the many restaurants with dog-friendly outdoor seating (Bru Burger, Ralstons etc.)
4. For colder days, consider hanging out with your pup at a dog-friendly brewery. Metazoa Brewery on College is dog friendly and often hosts events related to dog rescue and to benefit animals. They don’t serve food, but you can order Cluster Truck for delivery and to round out a great afternoon. Flat 12 Bierwerks is also animal-friendly, and they have an attached sub shop!

Mental wellness is difficult to achieve in residency – having the sincere and endless love of a dog can help. There are plenty of dogs in need who are just waiting to have the opportunity to make your life better!


Article adapted from an excerpt courtesy of Dr. Christen Dilly, faculty advisor to the IUSM House Staff Forum. Featured picture is Gus, registered therapy dog at Eskenazi Health, covered in a spotlight piece by local ABC affiliate RTV6.

The views expressed in this content represent the perspective and opinions of the author and may or may not represent the position of Indiana University School of Medicine.

James Grogan