The love that we have for our pets is so powerful and it’s reciprocated. They have a healing power that goes beyond medicine. But what happens if we become hospitalized and are separated from our devoted furry friend?
Pet therapy is an amazing way to help heal patients, put a smile on their face and connect them with their own love for their pet at home. It can also help with patients who have become withdrawn, angry and depressed from their situation. It’s a unique way to provide a sense of normalcy in the hospital.
I clearly remember it being a highlight for the day with our pediatric patients and their families.
There was one patient during my work at the rehab unit who had been separated from her dog for several months. She joined our pet therapy sessions but still felt the incredible void of missing her companion, Marshy. With a long road of recovery ahead of her, she was cleared from her doctor for a visit from her furry friend. It was an emotional moment to see the two reunite and her family and I tried to capture the experience in pictures and on film.
Here is a short clip
I think that the experience provided comfort and security to both the patient and the dog. It may have even helped motivate the patient and her family to focus on getting the most out of therapy and getting back to their normal lives at home. Marshy did help provide a healing component. The patient is now fully recovered and enjoying her college life.
It would be amazing if every person who was hospitalized could be granted that time with their own pet. Pet therapy is a wonderful tool that can substitute and bring comfort, connection and unconditional love.