Thoughts on Dog Therapy

I recently finished a delightful book that had all the required elements of a good afternoon read; love, loss, shyness, sickness and a happy ending.  There were several characters highlighted in this tale, some were perfectly healthy and normal, one was aged and had dementia and another was a highschooler with personality issues.  In the latter part of the book, an older gentleman appeared with a very nice dog that was used for dog therapy and they would meet him at the park and basically the dog would sit by the person with the issues and that person would eventually feel better after having petted the dog, etc.  I think that is a lovely concept and one that I believe would work.  I know animals provide that extra something that humans just can't imagine being able to provide to another human, specifically in times of sickness when we don't really know how to handle those situations, especially a sickness we can't readily visualize.  Anyway, as in everything else, there is a time and place for animals to appear.  In a park setting, at someone's house when it has been requested, etc.  All this leads to the reason for this blog-post.

As many of my readers know, I've been having my knees replaced.  I had the right one done earlier this year and then at the end of August, I had the left one done. It was 3 weeks yesterday, and all is going well. I have graduated to a cane and I'm rebuilding my quad muscle that they cut into around the knee.  It's surprising how quickly that knee can buckle without having the strength there.  Anyway, the first week and a half after surgery, they still have you on antibiotics for fear of infection since they have the knee site open for 1.5 hours, they are inserting a foreign object into your knee and no telling what else and where else bacteria can live.  In addition, they are still having to do blood draws to see how thick/thin the blood levels are, etc. I won't bore you with all the details.  So, here I sit in the waiting room of the hospital (same area as the registration), waiting to get my blood drawn. My leg is down (not propped up) so it's not feeling well, I still have stitches, the waiting room is packed with people waiting to be called back to the surgery prep area, they are there with their families, everyone is worried, I get all that.  But people are also sick, they cough and hack, blow their nose, go to the bathroom (are they washing their hands?), unclean bodily fluids are EVERYWHERE.  In walks this woman from outside the hospital, with a big dog on a leash. Yes, the dog was very well behaved. The woman was very calm and soft-spoken (think therapy) and walked the dog around to see if you wanted dog therapy. (told you I'd get back to the core of the story)  So here are these people who have coughed into their hands and blown their noses, petting the dog as he walks around with the woman. So everyone is touching everyone else's bodily fluids through a carrier of dog hair while petting the dog.  They finally settle at one woman's feet and she pets the dog continuously.  Apparently the dog can sense when one needs the extra therapy.

Again, I think the concept is lovely and I'm sure it relieves tension, but I'm not sure a hospital setting where we are concerned with bacteria and infections is the right place for that.

What are your thoughts on that?


LeAnn said…
I don't think PEOPLE should be allowed in hospital waiting rooms, let alone varmints!
Kathy... said…
I'm still spinning from the concept of a DOG doing good things for People! With Sofee, it's all about what I can do for HER!!!!! (Saying this in the midst of her horrible allergy season....sigh)

Seriously though - point well made and actually I agree with you, although I'd never thought of it.

Hope you continue to make good progress with your recovery. And yes....stay away from hospitals, clinics, and anything else medical as much as you can! We've had to take the baby in for clinical check ups and it makes me very nervous.

Take care.... k