|SUE - a breast cancer survivor||
I love our pet therapy days. My Golden Retriever was at my side through my treatment and I can see on patients faces here that they provide comfort and for staff as well. Energy level is high for staff in this environment. We need to be up and provide comfort and help during their treatment and provide for families that are in attendance as well. The family is scared as is the patient and sometimes words are not enough but a warm fuzzy nudge by the dog beside you that snuggles up and just gives you all the love they have with no questions ask is what therapy dogs do. Studies have shown over the years that pet owners live longer and we know even a fish tank in a waiting room can reduce stress. Maybe someday as part of a treatment regime it will be order pat a dog three times a day. Of course more studies are needed in the field of cancer but it is enough to venture to say that pets provide potential health benefits for all ages. It goes without saying that you need to wash your hands and a sick animal should never be taken to visit patients. Pet owners must have a clean pet with nails clipped to avoid scratching and your dog should be under your control at all times. Occassionaly we see a patient that doesn't want anything to do with a pet but that is rare. Most often you see a smile coming on someone's face and turn around and see them watching a dog coming to them. I know for me that DUKE was my everything during the day and night and listened to me no matter what I said or how I said it and if I was just still he stayed by my side. Duke always provided me with smiles and warmth and there is always my cavalier that just brings downright laughs as he talks to me ( and he really talks). He will sit by my bed at night which is quite high and give a low growling sound and then stop to see if it alerted me and if not he will continue to do it getting louder each time till I listen to him and bring up to sleep on my shoulder which is where he sits each night. Thank heaven Toby is small as I don't think I could have handlled Duke at 65 pounds. Duke is gone now but Toby continues and every night when I go in the door, my first thing to do is go find my little buddy and let him know I am home. Yes, I do believe in pet therapy just as I believe in baby therapy. How can you ever have a bad day when you hold a baby next to you? The physical contact is what each one of us craves and needs despite our income, social status, financial gains... we all need love. Pets make it a great day!