Comfort dog eases kids' dentist visits

The 6-year-old golden retriever is a trained comfort dog and offers a helping paw to nervous visitors at the Pediatric Dentistry of Northbrook in Northbrook, Illinois.

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"A lot of the time, those patients would need nitrous oxide or other sedative to help them relax," clinic staffer Veronica Renteria told The Dodo Thursday. "But when JoJo comes in with them and sits in the chair, they're comforted. They can just sit and pet her as they're getting their teeth cleaned. She does a great job with them."

Today.com reported that JoJo's handler, Lynne Ryan, got the idea to bring the dog in to help young patients.

Ryan worked for over two decades at the dentistry as a dental assistant.

JoJo doesn't only help children, though.

"It's stressful on parents too. One mom just sat back and melted with this dog in her arms while the doctor and assistant took care of her child," Ryan said "JoJo has a real sixth sense of who needs her, so we'll walk into a room and sometimes she'll (make a) beeline to somebody else."

JoJo also benefits families by lowering the overall cost of treatment.

The dog's calming demeanor sometimes eliminates the need for additional medication.

She's so integral to the staff that she's on the dentistry's staff page on its website.

JoJo also provides an incentive for children and their parents to return for regular visits.

"A lot of the patients who normally were very apprehensive about even walking in the door now look forward to their appointments," Renteria said. "The moment you walk in, you feel very relaxed. There she is, waiting for you to pet her."

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