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Dog News for the metro Washington D.C. dog area: MD/VA/DC. Play, rescue, train and volunteer with your dog. Weird and inspiring stories.

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Monday, July 01, 2002

Dogs chase the blues away for nursing home residents Until now, claims about Animal Assisted Therapy (dogs/cats visiting people in medical facilities) have been unsubstantiated (ie, anecdotal); now a study by study by Marian R. Banks of the VA Medical Center in St. Louis and William A. Banks of St. Louis University School of Medicine, Missouri statistically proves such visits are very beneficial for people's emotional and physical health. "One of the more interesting findings in the study was the spontaneous recollection of childhood pets by the residents. Participants would talk to their therapy animals about past events with their former pets. For example, one resident spoke to the dog and asked if the dog had gone hunting. She remembered fondly how her pet dog would catch squirrels and rabbits and bring them to her."

Our dog is a member of Montgomery County's Pets on Wheels, a non-profit, volunteer organization which seeks to match qualified dogs with medical care facilities for regular visits. I've personally seen the joy a visit from a friendly, cuddly dog can bring to people. It's very moving, because some of these people had to give up their own pets, and some people thought they would never get to hug and cuddle a dog or cat again.

If you have a well-behaved, friendly dog/cat, consider volunteering or helping out with Pets on Wheels.