New dentist in Chester puts the paws on anxious patients

Dr. Christopher Fauver, right, and Winston address both oral health and the anxiety of obtaining it at their new Chester offices. All photos by Jasmin Gomez.

By Jasmin Gomez
©2021 Telegraph Publishing LLC

Canine dentistry” has taken on new meaning for the patients of Dr. Christopher Fauver, a dentist for our human population who recently moved into new offices at 48 Main St. in Chester after years in practice in Springfield.

Enter Winston, Fauver’s partner, a 2-year-old golden retriever and a trained therapy dog who offers comfort to patients who are working through anxiety in a dentist’s chair.

In a recent interview, Fauver says that he wanted to get a pet dog but knew that he would not be able to leave him at home by himself while he went to work.

“I said the only way I’ll get one is if we can take him to the office, and he can come and visit and meet and greet. I thought that would be a really great idea,” he says. “There have been some articles in some of the dental magazines … about therapy dogs, so I was like that’s a great idea … you know, have a pet that can come to the office that can hang out with me and help people out at the same time.”

The breeder selected the year and a half old golden retriever for his calm temperament. And after going through a 6-month training program for therapy dogs, Winston now helps to comfort patients at the dentist’s office. This also makes Fauver the first dentist in the region to have a therapy dog.

Winston is a 2-year-old golden retriever and trained therapy dog.

“He’s trained to put his head on your lap, sit next to you, and you can pet him,” Fauver says. “And lately, he kind of takes it upon himself – and he’s pretty good about knowing people who like dogs or people who are a little nervous – when they’re sitting down he’ll kind of invite himself into their lap, and he’ll sit on them and lay down,” he says chuckling.

Fauver adds that if someone is uncomfortable around dogs, Winston will stay away.

Receptionist Sandie Warwick calls Winston a valuable asset, a full-time worker who is gentle and helpful with patients.

“He lifts all of our spirits,” says Warwick.

Like every employee, Winston has a set schedule. Fauver says Winston’s day starts with saying hello to staff, getting his morning treat, then checking in on patients.

“He usually sits pretty close to me, so he keeps me in his line of sight, and then he’ll follow me from room to room,” Fauver says.

In a recent tour of the building, Winston wanders through the office, greeting a client and the staff. He even peeks through the glass door of the waiting room to see if new patients have arrived. And when Winston needs some “me time,” his bed is in the corner of the office he shares with Fauver.

Winston shows a visitor the new offices at 48 Main St.

Fauver says that new patients tend to be happily surprised to see a dog at the dentist. And Winston has proved to be a big asset, with some patients saying that he is the only reason why they’re there.

“It takes the edge off. It’s a great ice breaker,” says Fauver, who opened his new office in the empty — and for sale — TD Bank building in front of Chester-Andover Elementary School. The building, he says, was a “nondescript kind of old colonial building” that he and his wife noticed one day.

They thought building “would make a real fine dental office,” he says. So, just before the pandemic took hold in early 2020, they purchased the building.  “It was a total tear-down on the inside and rebuilt … Everything on the inside is totally brand new. There is nothing of the original bank building, even the old vault door. That was taken out through the roof by a huge crane,” Fauver says.

Click here for more information about Dr. Fauver and Winston.

 

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About the Author: Jasmin Gomez is senior at Castleton University majoring in Studio Art and Media and Communications, while minoring in Graphic Design. She lives in Mt. Holly.

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  1. Joan Wacker says:

    If I still had small children, this is the place I’d take them. Most children would become immediately calm, sitting in the dentist chair with Winston’s head on their lap. This is such a welcome addition to the Town of Chester.
    So happy Dr Fauver and Winston have made Chester their place of practice.

  2. Karen Ericson says:

    He is very good at what he does and is super fast. Crowns are made on the spot too.

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