While many women want to give birth with a trusted confidant by their side — be it a spouse, mother, or best friend — one woman in England took it one step further, opting to have her dog, Barney, accompany her to the delivery room.
The Bristol woman requested that her certified therapy dog be present in the maternity ward to “provide a calming presence for her” while she went through labor. Sarah Windfield, head of midwifery at St. Michael’s Hospital, toldToday,
“Barney is a certified Pets as Therapy (PAT) dog and, with his owner, regularly attends to patients in hospital. PAT dogs are examined and passed on health, temperament, suitability and stability grounds and patients can benefit from their calming presence. His owner made the request to us at St Michael’s Hospital for Barney to be present when she gave birth, as a therapy dog, not as a pet. Having first sought the approval of our infection control experts, we agreed to Barney sitting nearby in the delivery room.”
Windfield notes that a “thorough cleaning was done after the birth as is usual practice at the hospital.” While The Sun reports an anonymous source claiming that “nurses and doctors were appalled that someone at the hospital had given the woman permission” for her Labrador to be present, The Stir blogger Kiri Blakeley doesn’t see what the big deal is: “The world would be a better place if dogs were allowed everywhere. Let ’em inside the cockpit of planes, I say. How about standing by during open heart surgery? Why not?”
Comments on Today‘s Facebook page commented on the proceedings:
“That’s beyond unsanitary,” writes one commenter.
Anther came to the dog’s defense, noting, “That is a rude assumption Alyssa. Dogs carry less germs than YOU do. Unless they sit in a kennel all day full of their feces which is against the law an considered neglect.”
Still, others used the article to make a case for more “natural” birthing experiences: “Dogs are not automatically unsanitary. It depends on how they’re taken care of and groomed. And a woman does not have to give birth in a STERILE environment!”
Yet another adds, “I’m not sure what the fuss is about. It’s not surgery and they sterilize everything once you leave. women give birth in less than ideal places every moment of the day. Good for her and the facility for allowing it.”
What do you think about a therapy dog in the labor and delivery room?
[Image via Shutterstock]