August 27, 2010

Pet Therapy

One of the wonderful integrated therapies we provide in hospice care is pet therapy. I've been very fortunate enough to facilitate sessions for several patients. It is so rewarding for all parties. The other day, my friend Sherri posted this video of Baxter, a service dog. Danny and Marisa were at the table when I was watching the video. I was so excited to share with them what I do, what facilitating a session means. We were all in tears, but not with complete sadness. They were tears of compassion.

Next week I have two sessions: one to help a patient with a relocation from her assisted living apartment to a skilled nursing home; and, one for a patient that is bedbound and wants to 'snuggle' with a dog but is high risk for skin tears. The other time I facilitated a session was with an Alzheimer's pt to help bridge communication as she had lost the ability to complete thoughts. As she stroked the dog's back, she was able to complete 5-6 word phrases and talk with her daughter. It was beautiful. This is such a wonderful part of my job! When I get home, I hug my doggies and realize they are a part of our family! Hope you enjoy the video.

6 comments:

  1. What a touching time you wrote about. And the clip on Baxter...well, tears ran down my cheeks. It was really moving. When I looked into Baxter's eyes a bit past the clip's half-way point, I saw my own kitty, Domino. I wish everyone had a buddy like Baxter or Domino.

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  2. that is so beautiful Angie. Thanks so much for posting it.

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  3. I was afraid to try pet therapy at first, not really knowing what to expect, but the animals are so awesome. Meg, your Domino is such a sweetie! Therese, share this with whoever you like!

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  4. When I was in 4-H, we took our pet's to different nursing homes in Arlington. We did this about every 2 or 3 months for many years. The patients really loved it and after a while had "their" pets that they requested. I had a very loving and gentle collie that was quite popular. As a child, it gave me the opportunity to know and appreciate "old folks". I am blessed for the experience.

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  5. That's awesome, Anne. We could all learn/be humbled by 'old folks'!

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