I’ll always remember the senior patient who had been in a car accident and was in so much pain that all he could do was moan and rock in his wheelchair. His agitation from the pain was essentially blocking the medication from doing its job. Enter Melina, the pet therapy dog who sat in a chair next to him while he rested his hand on her back and kneaded her fur with his fingers. His moaning became more intermittent as he was able to get a reprieve from the pain just long enough for the medicine to gain some ground.
Other patients on our rounds had their blood pressure taken before and after our pet therapy visits. The drop in blood pressure every time proved that focusing on the adoring face and soft fur of their “dogtor” was a definite non-medicated success.
Did you know that petting a dog can also be as effective as de-stressing with chocolate? The hormone Phenylethylamine is released when stroking our favorite pet, and remarkably has the same effect as chocolate on producing relaxation, minus adding the inches to our waistline.