Dogs are more than a part of the furniture. They are a part of the family. They nurture and provide companionship. They belong. Pets are like magic. Now, hospitals are starting to recognize that as well. A connection between family members is important to recovering patients. Adding strength and a positive attitude goes a long way in the healing process. Though it has plenty of perks, it still has plenty of obstacles.
At this moment, there are only four locations in the world that allow human/pet interaction with recovering patients and their own pets. They are the St. Louis Children’s Hospital, Cincinnati’s Children Hospital Center, Wolfson’s Children Hospital in Jacksonville, Florida and Alberta Children’s Hospital in Canada. As words spreads and success is shown, more hospitals will realize that pets are like magic. It is hoped that one in Blegium will be opening soon.
Often times, a sick child is either at home or in the hospital. Friends at school are missed and the recovery process can become a lonely one. That is where a dog can come in where no one else can. With unconditional love and undivided selfless attention, like magic, the family pet is there. Now, the family pet can be there all of the time. With hospitals allowing the family dog to visit his master, they will no longer be apart.
In a controlled environment, a dog can visit his missing master. Hospitals are even providing special rooms where both dog and master can have room to play, throw a ball or just have plain fun being together. The rooms even have their own pheromone dispenser that calms the dog in an unfamiliar environment. The walls are painted bright and cheery. Pictures hang on the wall showing dogs interacting with patients to reinforce the reasons behind the room. Having a canine companion has been shown to ease pain, lower stress and depression. The dog benefits as well. Being able to be near their loved ones will lower their heart rate and reduce their stress. Pets are more than magical, they are healthy as well.
Visitation privileges are not without precautions. Before a dog can visit, he or she must be approved by the doctor and then given a bath to cleanse the animal of any potential infections. While it is not the favorite part of any dog’s life, they seem more than willing to pay the cost in order to be reunited with their master again.
No need to stuff the cat into a box and smuggle him inside. Hospitals realize cats are also like magic and serve the same beneficial purpose after they pass the same inspections. So far, the dog and cat are the only animals allowed visitation privileges. Some requests for others to be cleared include a pot-bellied pig, a miniature goat and a flying squirrel.