Slowly, my friend made progress, but she missed her dog a lot. The picture with this post shows their happy reunion the day I brought her dog to visit. I also noticed the heightened joy of many staff members when they interacted with the dog. His presence brought many smiles.
I didn’t need research to tell me that some healing had taken place, but it’s good to know that the results of positive exchanges between pets and people are scientifically measurable. The American Heart Association verifies that heart failure patients who spent 12 minutes with a dog or cat had lower stress hormones and blood pressure levels.
Pets are being certified to improve patients’ health in nursing homes and hospitals. Pets’ many contributions include helping stroke survivors with physical therapy and assisting mentally disabled patients in learning chores. It doesn’t matter what breed the pets are, as long as they have sound temperaments and can pass the AKC Canine Good Citizen Test. Thousands of dogs and smaller numbers of cats serve as therapy pets. They seem to know instinctively that they are there to help patients. And this video shows that’s exactly what they do.
Frances Shani Parker, Author
"Becoming Dead Right: A Hospice Volunteer in Urban Nursing Homes”
Hospice and Nursing Homes Blog