P.U.P.S Program at Keesler Medical Center

A furry little friend joined a few patients at Keesler Medical Center today as part of the Patients Utilizing Pet Services program, or P.U.P.S. This form of therapy for the veterans and patients has been in the works for two years and it’s the first pet program at the Keesler Air Force Base in Biloxi.
A brand new furry visitor made it through tight security at Keesler Air Force Base. Every time he passed by, you can bet everyone’s face lit up. Starting the P.U.P.S program was not a simple process. “It’s just a very exciting, very exciting. I just can’t believe it. You know, I kept thinking someday it’ll happen but just seeing it happen today and to see all the patients being very excited and put a smile on their face while they’re in the hospital, you know it’s great,” said Sandie Schlett, creator of P.U.P.S.
This program has been in the making for two years. This is the first pet therapy program at Keesler and patients think it’s a fantastic idea. Patient Sue Reiter said, “I love to pet babies, they’re part of the family, you know.”
Visiting Pet Teams of South Mississippi provides the dogs. These dogs are fully trained and also visit nursing homes. Lieutenant Jessica Bertke, clinical nurse at Keesler Medical Center, said, “We’ve had patients here specifically that have had breakdowns from not having their animals. It’s really close to my heart to bring in animals, so we can make their lives a little better.”
They say dogs are a man’s best friend, but what is it exactly about these four-legged friends that bring so much happiness to people’s lives? “They’re forgiving. You know they don’t expect anything from you. They don’t judge you. They just want to be loved,” said Jan Tucker with Visiting Pet Teams of South Mississippi.
Keesler is looking to bring these pups to the base at least twice a month. If you are interested in pet therapy, contact Visiting Pet Teams of South Mississippi at 228-265-0336.

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