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Making a trip to the dentist a “pawsitive” experience

“He’s not pulling teeth or anything, he’s just comforting people hearts,” said Erich Perez about iHeart Dental's most popular employee, their service dog Apollo.
“He’s not pulling teeth or anything, he’s just comforting people hearts,” said Erich Perez about iHeart Dental's most popular employee, their service dog Apollo.(Source: WTOC)
Published: Aug. 5, 2020 at 4:02 PM CDT
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By Sam Bauman | August 3, 2020 at 11:36 AM EDT - Updated August 3 at 7:02 PM

RINCON, Ga. (WTOC) - Going to the dentist can be scary no matter how old you are but one dental clinic in Rincon is hoping to ease your nerves with the help of one of their newest employees.

And even though he may slobber a bit and get fur on your jacket, he’s sure to make your next trip to the dentist a walk in the dog park.

The 140-pound American bulldog Apollo has quickly become the most popular employee at iHeart Dental in Rincon.

“They call ahead of time to see if Apollo’s here before they schedule an appointment,” said iHeart Dental Lab Tech & Apollo’s owner Erich Perez.

Of course, it isn't his dental record that has patients requesting him by name.

“He’s not pulling teeth or anything, he’s just comforting people hearts,” said Perez.

Apollo is a service dog. In fact he’d been helping Perez with his anxiety for quite sometime.

He’s done so well that Perez figured, why not spread the love?

“We were kind of like, ‘why can’t we help the patients at iHeart Dental too?’” Said Perez.

A job Apollo seemed destined for.

“He can tell when a patient really needs comfort. He sits right beside them, puts his head on them, let them pet him and relax,” Perez says.

Patients like Arthur Strickland.

“Knowing that you have to see a doctor or get your teeth played around with just kind of makes you feel like you’re pent up with anxiety.”

Apollo and Strickland becoming fast friends.

“He might glance over at me from a distance and he kind of gives me that feeling like, ‘you’re good, you’re alright.’”

Apollo taking pride in putting in a hard days work.

“If we don’t take him to work he’s sad. He’s ready every morning by the door,” said Perez.

And maybe enjoying a few of the perks that come with it too.

“I think he likes all the petting, all the attention. He thinks he’s the man,” Perez jokes.

This big dog, perhaps a larger than life symbol, that like a trip to the dentist things aren't always as scary as they first seem.

“I’ve never had such a feeling of being at home if you will. But coming here and seeing him definitely gives me that sense of being at home. Which I’ve never had at a dentist office,” said Strickland.

If you’d like to request Apollo for your next trip to iHeart Dental head over to their website by clicking here.

Copyright 2020 WTOC. All rights reserved.

Original Story: https://www.wtoc.com/2020/08/03/making-trip-dentist-pawsitive-experience/

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