Toothless therapy dog brings smiles and comfort during dental visits in Corte Madera

Corte Madera, Calif. -- Going to the dentist could be a little nerve-racking for some, but a Corte Madera dentist has found a solution to that problem by bringing his therapy dog to provide smiles and comfort to his patients.

Kismet is a 13-year-old Chihuahua who was recently adopted from Muttville, Senior Dog Rescue in San Francisco.

Now, she is a dog with a mission to ease and relieve anxiety during a patient's trip to the dentist.

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Dr. Cameron Garrett has owned his dental practice in Corte Madera for thirty-seven years. He works alongside his wife Debra, a Dental Hygienist, and his six-pound dog who is working two days a week as a dental therapy dog.

"She was so small we didn't want to leave her at home so we began to bring her into the office," said Dr. Garrett. "Patients responded so wonderfully to her. We really began to understand the benefit of having a therapy dog here in the practice. She can provide an icebreaker for what can be a very stressful moment for a patient and we feel that that is very important."

Kismet does not have formal therapy dog training, but is "not a real active dog." She doesn't have any teeth which makes her harmless to patients. Before Kismet was adopted by the Garrett's, she was diagnosed with severe periodontal disease.

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Muttville provided Kismet with necessary dental work before sending her off to her forever home.

"It was very ironic that we ended up with a little mascot who is toothless," said Dr. Garrett. "She can show our patients the ultimate bad result of not caring for your teeth."

The Garrett's had a previous dog named Karma who was also a toothless therapy dog. She provided joy to patients for three years. Unfortunately, Karma crossed the rainbow bridge in 2019. The Garrett's missed her greatly, but
waited sometime before finding another rescue animal.
After looking for months, the Garrett's weren't having much luck and turned to Karma to asked her to help them find another perfect pet for their family. Within no time, Kismet was brought into their lives.

"She really understands the routine, Kismet knows when we are coming into work and when we're not," said Dr. Garrett. "Believe it or not, we have patients that schedule their appointment based on whether Kismet works that day or not."