Debbie Zaiger really wasn’t a fan of going to the dentist. She got so anxious that she needed laughing gas just for regular teeth cleaning!
Little did she know that her recent visit to J & D Dental in downtown Minneapolis would lead to an unexpected but totally effective way to ease her anxiety – Ollie, an 80-pound English Goldendoodle.
Ollie, the big-hearted, gentle giant and four-legged therapist, is actually owned by hygienist April Kline.
She came up with the idea to bring Ollie to work to help ease the nerves of anxious patients. It turns out that studies have proven that petting dogs can reduce stress, and it’s a win-win for both people and their furry pals.
Considering that about 36 percent of Americans deal with dentophobia (the fear of the dentist), having Ollie around is a total game-changer for so many folks.
April Kline, along with her family, adopted Ollie during the pandemic, training him to respond to basic commands.
The initial trial at the dental office involving Kline’s anxious husband set the stage for Ollie’s unconventional role as a stress reliever.
Recognizing his potential to comfort patients, dentist Jennifer Herbert, who owns the practice, approved Ollie’s presence, provided other patients were comfortable with it.
Ollie, who’s all up-to-date on vaccinations and always looking spiffy after grooming, now joins hygienist Kline at the dental office occasionally.
Patients like Debbie Zaiger have felt the amazing impact of Ollie’s soothing company during their teeth cleanings, which has even replaced the need for nitrous oxide.
In a dental setting where anxiety is common, Ollie’s chill demeanor has proven to be a warm, fuzzy remedy. Patients revel in cuddle time with Ollie, describing it as the best dental appointment of their lives.
The practice carefully schedules Ollie’s visits to avoid overworking him, ensuring a positive experience for everyone.
Ollie, not officially a service animal but a therapeutic presence, adheres to strict hygiene protocols, and his patient interactions comply with OSHA guidelines.
Patients like Sue Heger, who had previously endured traumatic dental experiences, now look forward to future appointments with Ollie, experiencing a complete shift from fear to relaxation.
In dentistry, where appointments are rarely considered the “best day of their lives,” Ollie’s arrival has truly transformed the game.
He’s like a ray of sunshine with paws, bringing warmth and brightness to the dental office and the patient’s experiences.