Newest Addition at Baylor Institute for Rehabilitation Grapevine-Lancaster has Four Legs and a Wagging Tail

Courtney Craig, 214-259-4658
August 1, 2017

The newest addition at Baylor Institute for Rehabilitation Grapevine-Lancaster is bringing patients a unique form of treatment - the love of a dog.

Facility Dog Karmen, a 2-year-old Labrador/golden retriever cross, was provided by Canine Companions for Independence. She will assist in the outpatient clinic with her new human handler, Travis McCracken.

Travis is a physical therapist at the facility who says Karmen has already completely transformed his sessions.

“Karmen is already a great addition to our outpatient clinic and has noticeably changed how most patients feel about attending physical therapy sessions,” McCracken said. “She changes normal exercises into something patients look forward to performing because they get to interact with her.”

Karmen is trained in over 50 commands, and uses these commands to assist in sessions. She picks up dropped items, helps with balance exercises by tugging on a rope, assists in grip strengthening and dexterity training and helps patients go from sitting to standing by doing the movement alongside them.

Karmen is helping to make physical therapy a positive experience for patients, using both her physical task work and simply the uplifting presence of a dog.

The newest Canine Companions facility opened in Irving in November 2015, thanks to a collaboration with Baylor Scott & White Health. This collaboration is the first of its kind, and is allowing many dogs like Karmen to be placed with those in need in the state of Texas. Karmen is the first dog to be placed in a Baylor Scott & White facility, adding a new aspect to the already successful relationship.

Video by NBCDFW aired August 1, 2017 -