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Pediatric dentist office in Waco uses therapy dog-in-training to ease nerves

Posted at 7:15 PM, Mar 02, 2022

WACO, Texas — When patients visit Smart Mouth Pediatric Dentistry in Waco, they just might get greeted with a bark, sniff and maybe even a kiss. The dentist office brought in a six-month-old golden doodle named Kona to serve as a comfort companion.

"I was a little bit surprised," 13-year-old patient Hayden Brock told 25 News after seeing Kona for the first time. "I never saw a dog here before, but it was exciting to see a dog at the dentist's office."

"We thought Kona was a great addition to help the kids become more relaxed and help the kids love the dentist because it's a life-long journey," Dr. Sheala Lansdon said.

Kona has been training as a therapy dog since late last year. Her position has brought joy to not only patients, but also their parents.

"It's been a huge blessing for the patients, but you also have to think parents struggle with anxiety coming to the dentist too," Dr. Lansdon said. "So that's something we found that's been interesting too, the parents also find just petting Kona helps release any anxiety they have about their child's treatment."

Since Kona is a puppy and still training, she doesn't work every day, but patients can request her when making an appointment.