Therapy pets have been a thing for a while. Special, well tempered pets making the rounds in hospitals cheering up the elderly and seriously ill. While we still love those dogs and praise their unique healing powers, nothing beats seeing your own little fluff ball while you are on the mend. Bringing comfort, boosting morale and happiness are just the start of positive vibes that these unique visits can bring.
Just Listen to the Story of a Hospital in Canada
In Ontario, Canada, Juravinski Hospital allows beloved pets to visit seriously ill owners. The program, launched by Donna Jenkins and adopted by the hospital, is called Zachary’s Paws for Healing. Inspired by her 25 year old nephew, who ferociously battled Hodgkin’s Lymphoma with his loyal dog by his side, Jenkins had her first official patient visit September 15, 2015.
“For many weeks Zachary fought the illness, very sick after enduring a stem cell transplant, begging to see his dog, Chase,” Jenkins explained. After sneaking the dog into the ICU to see if Chase had any effect, Zachary began to shine; the effect was remarkable! Once he realized surviving his cancer wasn’t possible, Zachary made his mother promise to start an organization.
“When suffering patients get to see beloved pets, a lot can happen. Vital signs can improve, depression and the feeling of isolation can be helped, and communication can be re-established; pets give patients a reason to return home, a reason to fight on.”
Some Rules Apply
Therapy dogs have much more room to run when it comes to visitation rights. Personal pet visitation is typically taken on a case by case basis from what we can tell. Some hospitals have designated areas for the pet visitations while others allow them direct access to the patient’s room – some even allow cats. There are numerous programs around that facilitate the visitation and make sure it goes smooth for everyone involved. Take a look for one associated with your hospital if you are interested.