A few months ago, pediatric dentist Dr. Paul Weiss sent a letter to his patients announcing an addition to his staff. The letter included a photo of the friendly face they might see during visits and a paw print acting as a signature from Weiss’ golden retriever, Brooke, a certified therapy dog.
Brooke, now 4, started off spending one morning a week at the dental office in East Amherst, where the waiting room is painted in bright colors and furnished with a small table and chairs, art supplies, an old-fashioned video game terminal and an electronic piano keyboard. But the demand for appointments on “Brooke days” was so great that she now works there on both Wednesday and Thursday mornings.
“Our mission is really to make kids comfortable coming to the dentist, to keep them coming back,” says Weiss, who has operated the practice for 23 years. “We want to make sure their dental experience is positive, and Brooke is one more means to accomplish that.”
Brooke’s presence at the practice has drawn lots of attention over the past 10 days, after a sweet photo of her stretched out in the dental chair next to a young patient was posted on Facebook and shared thousands of times.