Pet owners can attest to the positive affect of a pet in their lives. Dogs have been the topic of discussion lately within the hospice industry. “Man’s best friend”, loyal, obedient, cute and silly at times, are all reasons why we as humans love them. Now studies are showing that for these same reasons dogs can be a powerful tool when providing care for terminal illness.
Dealing with a terminal illness can be a very stressful period for patients as well as the family members. Left unattended, the psychological effects of stress can deteriorate one’s health. Therefore it is important to maintain good mental health as this translates into good physical health.
Good news for all the dog lovers, specially trained therapy dogs are providing comfort and solace for many across the nation. For quite some time the positive effects that dogs have on humans has been known. In fact, According to The American Heart Association, the ownership of pets, especially dogs, has been linked to a reduced risk for heart disease and greater longevity. Dogs have evolved into wonderful therapists throughout the decades. Their ability to listen, and judge the tone of our voice is quite remarkable. They know when you are sad, angry, happy and even when you’re in danger. They provide love, companionship, security and calm when we need it the most. These are all qualities a person dealing with terminal illness can benefit from.
Ultimately, we would like to encourage those that are suffering to seek companionship. Whether it is a family dog or specially trained therapy dog, it is always easier to have a friend by your side during tough times. Realistically your companion doesn’t have to be a dog, it may be a cat or some other animal even friends or family. The important thing however, is that those suffering have support and companionship during this difficult time.