When you’re sick, there’s nothing you want more than to be taken care of by your loved ones so you feel safe and secure.
But for many people, this “loved one” whose care and love you crave isn’t a human at all. For some of us, it’s our furry friend that we share this special connection with! Even when I was hospitalized a few years ago, all I wanted was to hold my dear cat Sam. I missed her so much, and I remember woefully thinking to myself, “I wish Sam were here…”
Well, there’s good news for people like us! If you’re in the greater Ontario area in Canada, the Juravinski hospital recently adopted a new program called Zachary’s Paws for Healing. This program was made to help seriously ill, bedbound patients see their pet every week.
This incredible foundation was launched by Donna Jenkins, who was inspired by her 25-year-old nephew, Zachary Noble.
When Zachary was battling Hodgkin’s lymphoma, he benefited greatly by having his dogs around him.After several weeks of being very sick at the hospital, Zachary started begging to see his dog, Chase.
“We sneaked Chase into ICU to see him and the effect it had on Zachary was remarkable,”
said Donna. However, when Zachary found out that he was not going to survive cancer, he made her promise to start the organization. And thus, their official first pet visit was September 15, 2015.
“It was his dream to provide pet visits to other patients just like him.
We now know that when pets visit their owners at the hospital, the patients “improve vital signs” and other psychological concerns such as “depression” and “remoteness.
” Pets can help patients to open up and feel reconnected to their old life.
“It takes their mind off the hospital and being sick for a bit”
Pet visits usually take about an hour and they can come once a week. They do not affect the other patients and are thoroughly cleaned before entering the hospital.
The visit lessens the feeling of isolation and reminds the patients that they have a reason to get better soon and go back home. Pets can also be relieved to see their owners and that they have not lost their human companion.
Watch the video below to see how this initiative works out in action:
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