A visit to the dentist can be quite terrifying for many adults. Just imagine how traumatic it can be for some kids. That's where Jo Jo comes in. Children and the dentist usually don't mix, but with Jo Jo, dentist visits are relaxing.
Jo Jo is a 6-year-old Golden Retriever that is helping kids remain calm during treatments at an Illinois dental clinic. A trained 'Comfort Dog,' Jo Jo allows kids to hold her paws or pets her during the entire procedure.
‘The power of comfort dogs to transform lives is well-noted, and the young patients at a US dental clinic rely on one specially trained Golden Retriever to get them through the sometimes daunting procedures.’
JoJo's first foray into dentistry came after her handler, Lynne Ryan, came up with the idea of using a comfort dog to help young patients through stressful procedures. "Working at a pediatric practice can have its challenges," says Ryan, who has also served as a dental assistant at the practice for over two decades.
Jo Jo is so good at making the kid's relax, most children skip the sedatives during their procedures and say they look forward to coming in. Many of the young patients at the Paediatric Dentistry of Northbrook clinic hold on to Jo Jo's paw throughout their treatments, or find security simply by stroking her as she lays across their laps.
But kids aren't the only beneficiaries of Jo Jo's calm demeanor. "It's not always the patient that's stressed out," Ryan explains. "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. Jo Jo 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."
The prized dental assistant only works with patients who are comfortable having her around them, and never works more than once a month. "We take her wherever people need comfort," Ms Ryan said. "It's kind of like having a big stuffed animal in the office."