JustOneMorePet

Every Pet Deserves A Good Home…

Shelters Full of Chihuahuas

By FIELDING BUCK
The Press-Enterprise
 

“Beverly Hills Chihuahua,” which earned $29 million over the weekend and topped the Inland box office, is alarming some animal advocates who fear it will lead to an upswing in abandonment.

“I’m appalled by this movie,” said Meredith Brittain, who runs a small pet-rescue operation in Devore.

Rescuers say they were already overrun with abandoned Chihuahuas because of the stalled economy’s impact on pet owners and media overexposure to the breed from Taco Bell commercials and Paris Hilton paparazzi shots.

The arrival of an eye-poppingly cute Disney picture filled with talking critters is the equivalent of one more bank closure, they say.

“It’s been the worst year ever,” said Ann Pollock, of a San Diego County Chihuahua rescue operation.

Experts urge people who may be thinking about getting a Chihuahua to adopt at a shelter or rescue agency instead of breeders, stores or online ads. People who have seen “Beverly Hills Chihuahua” say it may send a positive message about abandoned animals. The title character is homeless after being stolen.

      

Carrie Rosema / The Press-Enterprise
Shelter officials say people interested in adopting Chihuahuas do their research and don’t judge animals solely on looks.

Both its canine leads were adopted by the film’s animal trainer. Rusco, the male who plays Papi, was saved from Moreno Valley Animal Shelter in November 2006, after his owner refused to claim him.

“Fantastic movie! I loved it,” said Denise Raymond, office supervisor for animal services, who went over the weekend just to see Rusco’s big debut.

The fear, however, is that the film will cause a repeat of what happened in 1996 when Disney released its live-action “101 Dalmatians.” Filmgoers rushed out to purchase purebred puppies they quickly found they didn’t want.

Brittain said problems begin with buying instead of adopting.

“They buy puppies. They dump them when they turn into dogs.”

Brittain fears people will see “Beverly Hills Chihuahua,” go out and buy a male and female and then try to sell the resulting litter at $50 a pup.

      

Experts urge people who may be thinking about getting a Chihuahua to adopt at a shelter or rescue agency instead of stores.

She said a “flood of unwanted dogs” has created gridlock in the rescue system. If potential owners are waiting, then rescuers can’t place the dogs.

“We’re doing this out of our grocery money, most of us,” Brittain added.

She said can she can only handle one or two dogs at a time and does not publicize her activities because if she did she would get eight to 10 calls a day.

There is a high percentage of Chihuahuas in the animal-rescue system, experts say.

Kathleen Summers, program assistant, for puppy mills with the Humane Society of the United States, said that when the organization heard about the “Beverly Hills Chihuahua, it did an informal survey of Southern California shelters.

“Almost all of them said they were the most common breed they rescue.” She said five had Chihuahuas come in on the day of the call.

Rescue Me… Please!
      

Carrie Rosema / The Press-Enterprise
Stacie Gendreaux, of the Riverside County Department of Animal Services, holds a Chihuahua.

Brian Cronin, division chief for San Bernardino County Animal Care and Control, said that on Monday there were 21 Chihuahuas or Chihuahua mixes and about 50 small-breed dogs out of 172 dogs in the shelter system and 297 animals total.

Among them are two “five-week-old guys” that had to be bottle-nursed in foster homes provided by staff.

John Welsh, spokesman for Riverside County Department of Animal Services, said that on Monday there were 94 Chihuahuas or Chihuahua mixes in the county’s four shelters.

Determination of breed is done by the staff. “None of our animals ever have papers,” Welsh said.

Teryn Hartnett, Riverside County’s senior animal behaviorist, said the region’s shelters see a lot of pit bulls and Chihuahuas because of “two different demographics”: the people who breed pit bulls for defense and the people who see paparazzi favorite Paris Hilton posing for photo ops with her pet, Tinkerbell.

A happy ending isn’t guaranteed animals that enter the shelter system. Welsh said Riverside County handles about 30,000 animals a year and about half have find homes. The rest are euthanized.

“It’s a statistic we’re always trying to improve.”

Cronin and Robert Miller, director of Riverside County Animal Services, took steps to neutralize the impact of “Beverly Hills Chihuahua.” They are on the board of California Animal Control Directors Association, which drafted a letter of Disney president and CEO Robert Igor.

Dated Aug. 8 and signed by board president Kathleen Brown, it states that in California shelters, one animal is euthanized every 63 seconds and that “Chihuahuas are small, easy to acquire and frequently abused in high-volume breeding operations.”

Cronin and Welsh said that Disney responded by including a pitch for responsible pet ownership in the film’s publicity.

Chihuahuas are high-energy dogs that require a high level of commitment. Hartnett said one factor to consider is whether you’ll enjoy taking them for regular walks.

Chihuahuas will be a companion for a long time. Small dogs can live up to 20 years, Hartnett said.

“That dog might be in their house longer than the children,” she observed.

She advises people who are thinking about adopting animals do their research on breeds and then bring their whole families to shelters to meet the animals. Don’t judge on looks or color, she said. Judge on temperament.

Summers advised people to be realistic in their expectations. “Beverly Hills Chihuahua.”

“They don’t understand the difference between a cute Chihuahua that jumps into your arms in the movie and a Chihuahua in your house.”

Riverside County: www.rcdas.org

San Bernardino County: www.sbcounty.gov/acc

Moreno Valley Animal Services: www.moreno-valley.ca.us/resident_services/animal/ index_animal.shtml

Permalink: https://justonemorepet.wordpress.com/2008/10/10/sheltors-full-of-chihuahuas/

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October 10, 2008 Posted by | Animal Abandonement, Animal Rights And Awareness, Just One More Pet, Pet Abuse, Pets, Political Change, Stop Animal Cruelty, Uncategorized | , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , | 11 Comments

Adopting A Senior Pet Has Many Advantage For Families and Seniors

When Kathy Simko brought home her newly adopted dog, a 9-year-old Chesapeake Bay retriever named “Maggie,” she quickly discovered that her canine companion was full of pleasant surprises

“I asked my sister if she thought Maggie might enjoy going for a walk,” Simko recalls. “As soon as I said it, Maggie jumped up and began wagging her tail. She pranced across the kitchen, picked up her leash in her mouth and brought it to me. Not only did she love going for walks, but I found out she was perfectly leash trained. In fact, she was wonderfully trained in just about every way.” 

Many older dogs and cats are full of pleasant surprises like Maggie.They’re mature, well-mannered and eager to spend time around people. Those are but a few of the reasons why pet experts say a mature dog or cat is the ideal match for the person or family who craves companionship, but doesn’t have the time, energy or financial resources that a puppy or kitten requires. 

Behavior & Training   

The popular phrase “what you see is what you get” rings true for mature mutts and calm cats.  Their new Pet Parents know in advance how they get along with other pets and small children, not to mention whether they enjoy getting a bath, riding in the car and how they behave at the veterinarian’s office or groomer.  Because puppies and kittens don’t reach maturity until they’re about a year old (even 2 years in the case of some dog breeds), it can be difficult to predict how they’ll ultimately react to different stimuli or situations.  

“Older animals are fully grown and their true personalities are apparent,” says Ellen Clark, operations director for the Wisconsin Humane Society.  “There are few surprises with an older pet.”  

Even better, many older dogs and cats have already been housetrained and they’re beyond the destructive chewing and scratching stages, Clark says. As a result, their Pet Parents don’t need to invest in training classes, chew toys or puppy pads. Older dogs and cats also enjoy a good night’s sleep just as much as their Pet Parents. Unlike puppies and kittens, they don’t need comforting or a potty break at 3 a.m.  

“And, you can teach an old dog new tricks if you need to,” Clarksays. “They’re often easier to train because they are mellow and they can focus on you. They learn quickly.”  

Age-Appropriate   

Mature pets are a good choice for people young and old. Families with small children are wise to consider getting a grown dog or cat who’s already lived in a home with kids and is accustomed to a child’s running, squealing and rambunctious play. Some puppies and kittens are frightened by children and could react with aggressive behavior, such as nipping or scratching.  Puppies especially can become over-stimulated when playing with children and might accidentally bite or scratch. And, kittens and puppies have sharper claws and teeth which can result in a more serious injury.  

At the same time, research suggests that pets can improve senior citizens’ physical and emotional health. Older dogs that don’t need long walks or strenuous exercise and calm cats who prefer a quiet household, are a perfect match for older Pet Parents.  

Medical Matters  

Aprille Hollis, public information officer for Maricopa County Animal Control (MCACC) in Phoenix, says that some adopters shy away from mature dogs and cats because they wrongly assume that older pets will develop health problems.  

“A puppy or kitten can get sick or suffer medical problems just as easily as an older dog or cat.  Any pet can get sick or hurt at any age,” she says.  

Instead, Pet Parents are likely to discover that many of their new companion’s veterinary needs have already been taken care of by the previous owner or, in the case of shelter pets, by a shelter veterinarian.  For example, many older dogs and cats have already been spayed or neutered.  They’ve also already received the first series of vaccinations necessary to protect them from deadly diseases, such as parvovirus and distemper in dogs and feline leukemia in cats.  That means they’ll need only annual booster shots to stay healthy.  

Fewer Fees … or Free!  

Because older dogs and cats are more difficult to place than kittens and puppies, many shelters across the country reduce or waive their adoption fees. It’s not uncommon to see adoption fees for pets older than 5 or 6 years of age reduced by 25 to 50 percent vs. younger dogs, cats, kittens and puppies.  

“Our adoption fee for dogs and cats aged 5 years and older can be considerably lower because it’s harder to find homes for these pets.Everyone wants the puppies and kittens,” says MCACC’s Hollis. “For example, our puppies can range from $100 to $150, while the fee for an older can be $65.”  

At WHS, Clark adds, there is no fee to adopt a cat aged 1 year and older (adopters are still carefully pre-screened to ensure a safe and responsible match).  

“The cats are already spayed or neutered, fully vaccinated and implanted with an identification microchip,” she says.  “We found that our kittens are adopted very quickly, and by not charging a fee for the older cats, we can find them ‘forever homes’ much more quickly too.”   

Finding an Older Pet 

If getting an older pet makes sense, here are a few options for finding one: 

Check newspaper and Internet classified ads. You’ll find scores of family pets for sale or even “free to good home.”   

Looking for a particular breed of pet? Consult a breed-specific rescue organization. Many breed-rescue groups utilize a network of volunteer foster-care providers to care for homeless animals until they find a permanent home. 

Visit your local humane society or animal control facility. An estimated 6 to 8 million dogs and cats end up in U.S. shelters every year, but only half of them find homes. Many shelters now have links on their web sites so prospective adopters can see pictures of available pets before driving to the shelter. 

Looking to adopt an older pet? See pets for adoption in your zip code at adoptions.petsmart.com

Written by: Kimberly Noetzel / PetSmart Charities

Dogs
Permalink: https://justonemorepet.wordpress.com/2008/09/29/adopting-a-sen…ie-and-seniors/ 

September 29, 2008 Posted by | Animal Abandonement, Just One More Pet, Pets, Success Stories | , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , | 7 Comments

Pet Therapy

“All over the world, major universities researching the therapeutic value of pets in our society and the number of hospitals, nursing homes, prisons and mental institutions are employing full-time pet therapists.”  …Betty White, American Actress, Animal Activist, and Author of Pet Love

Researchers are finding that pets truly have the power to heal their owners, especially the elderly. The most serious disease for older people is not cancer or heart disease, but loneliness.

Too often, people who live alone or are suddenly widowed die of broken hearts. Love is the most important medicine and pets are one of nature’s best sources of affection. Pets relax and calm. They take the human mind off loneliness, grief, pain, and fear. They cause laughter and offer a sense of security and protection. They encourage exercise and broaden the circle of one’s acquaintances.

Patients in hospitals and nursing homes who have regular visits from pets – whether their own or those brought in from various agencies – are more receptive to medical treatment and nourishment. Animals give the patient the will to live and in nursing homes, the medical staff is often surprised to see residents suddenly “become alive.” Animals have a calming effect on humans and benefit mental well-being, especially with children and the elderly.

In recent years, the experts have been relying on pet therapy as a valuable aid in reaching out to the elderly, the infirm, and to ill or abused children through-out the country. Therapy animals go to convalescent homes, hospitals, day care centers, juvenile halls, and prisons. These animals are trained to be calm, gentle and well-mannered, especially around rambunctious children. There are no breed requirements.

In fact, many therapy animals are mixed breeds. They come in all sizes and shapes. Cats and small dogs are good because they can be lifted easily and fit even on the smallest laps. A large dog makes a good companion for someone in a wheelchair, sitting patiently and allowing the occupant to stroke his fur.

Most important is that the therapy cats and dogs have a calm, gentle personality and are people-oriented. They must love attention and petting and not be shy. In addition, they need basic obedience training and should be conditioned to sudden noises. They provide an invaluable service to those who are lonely, abandoned, or ill; indeed, anyone who needs the miraculous healing that can arise from a hug and a gentle touch.

Children, especially those who are abused or neglected, are able to communicate with animals. A pet offers a safe place for a child with emotional problems. They give unconditional love, providing a security blanket.

A dog, cat, ferret or parrot can be the bond that glues a family together when upheaval, such as moving, death or divorce, occurs. Often, an animal can reach a child beyond an adult’s touch.

Mary Kelly, a child-life specialist at Children’s Hospital in Oakland, CA(USA), coordinates pet therapy sessions twice a month. She keeps a camera on hand to record the incredible connections that occur. “We’ve had very dramatic visits where a dog brought a child who has not spoken for months out of depression,” she states. “Most kids can relate to animals, so seeing and touching the pets brings them a sense of normalcy.”

Professionals in the field of pet-assisted therapy find that in addition to cats and dogs, fish, pot-bellied pigs, birds, reptiles, rabbits, guinea pigs, goats, horses and llamas are also valuable healers. They have also found pets lower blood pressure and stress levels, give the patient a reason to interact, offer a chance to exercise and a sense of security and/or intimacy, allow communication, and offer continuity in life.

The innocence of animals and their ability to love makes animals special. Human beings want to be part of their world, to connect with them in a mysterious and powerful way that will strengthen and nurture both humans and animals.

Allen Schoen, DVM says “In order to bond with animals, we have to step outside ourselves and learn to communicate on their terms.” During his years as a veterinarian, Dr. Schoen tells how love for our pets can literally save lives and how their love for us can be transforming in his bookLove, Miracles and Animal Healing.

That animals feel our pain, our joy, and our stress should come as no surprise for anyone who has a pet. Whether we recognize it or not, the emotional as well as the physical environment we humans create has a direct impact on the way our pets behave. Dr. Schoen explains that “…we emit energetic signals related to our deepest feelings that are picked up by those around us – especially our pets.” The emotional benefits from animals are difficult to measure, meaning that pets help humans without anyone knowing exactly why. What experts know, however, is that animals allow humans to focus, even for a short period of time, on something other than themselves.

Animals, especially small ones, have shown promise for many conditions, both social and physical:

  • Pets help Alzheimer’s patients by bringing them back to the present. Specially trained pups can also help alert others that an Alzheimer’s patient has wandered into harm’s way. “Pets can provide a measure of safety to people with the disease,” says Thomas Kirk, a vice president of a chapter of the Alzheimer’s Association.
  • Children who suffer from attention deficit disorder (ADD) are able to focus on a pet, which helps them learn to concentrate.
  • Mentally ill patients, or those with emotional problems, share a common bond when a cat or dog enters the room. Instead of reacting negatively to one another, it boosts morale and fosters a positive environment.
  • Pets are an antidote to depression. Life in a care facility can be boring. A visit from a therapy cat or dog breaks the daily routine and stimulates interest in the world outside.
  • Pets provide social interaction. In a health care facility, people come out of their rooms to socialize with the animals and with each other.
  • Everyone has the need to touch. Many humans are uncomfortable hugging or touching strangers, even those close to them. Some people are alone and have no hands to hold, no bodies to hug. But rubbing the fur of a cat or dog can provide a stimulation that is sorely lacking. The nonverbal connection is invaluable in the healing process.
  • Pets are a source of expectation, hope and communication. Looking forward to a social call or getting home after time away gives that spark of anticipation all humans need to help feel alive. Pets can help start a conversation, and help one who is struggling against unusual difficulties in learning to speak for the first time or after a speech impairment such as a stroke.

Animals also provide healing outside domestic settings: dolphin and pet-assisted therapy, horseback riding, farm animal and wildlife interaction, and marine life activity.

The incredible abilities of pets are astounding:

Dogs sniff out deadly land mines in Bosnia and earthquakes worldwide, searching for victims. After the bombing in Oklahoma City, OK (USA), they crawled through twisted metal and broken glass in 12 hour shifts, searching for survivors. K-9 Corps dogs work with police and military personnel to uncover drugs, bombs and criminals. At airports, specially trained beagles scramble through cargo and baggage for illegal contraband, including foreign viruses. They aid the blind and assist the deaf and disabled. They have been used to detect cancerous lesions, long before they look suspicious. And we must never forget the combat dogs who served our countries, War Dogs – Dogs in Combat.

Cats are certainly the most curious and also the most psychic of pets. Throughout the ages, they have predicted earthquakes and other natural disasters, found missing persons and alerted their owners to danger. They can sense when a person needs help. Betty White relates the story of Handsome, a Persian cat who was taken to a nursing home and met Marie, a lonely senior with no friends and no family. She remained curled in a fetal position with no interest in living. She had sores on her legs from constant scratching. After Handsome became Marie’s roommate, whenever she tried to scratch herself, he would play with her hands or otherwise distract her. Within a month the sores had healed. But even more incredible, she was so fascinated with the cat that she asked the staff about his care. Before long, she was inviting other residents to come visit with her pet.

Even more dramatic is the story of Nina Sweeney fromLawrence, MA (USA). Her seven cats and dog saved her life one fateful night in January. The temperature was bitterly cold when she went to bed. During the night Nina was struck with a paralyzing illness that left her helpless. Unable to leave her bed, she listened as the fire in her stove sputtered and died. Outside, the thermometer registered below zero and the numbing chill seeped into the house. Nina prayed someone would find her as she shivered beneath her blankets. Two days passed before neighbors investigated. When they reached her, they found Nina alive and warm, one cat on either side of her, another draped like a fur on her neck. One was nestled on her chest and another under her arm. Beneath the covers were two other cats. Her dog lay across her stomach. Her pets had kept Nina from freezing to death.

A pet is an animal that is very beneficial to its owner. There’s even now a type of treatment called pet therapy. I myself have a pet dog and since having it, many things in my household have changed for the better. Below are 3 things why owning a pet will positively affect your life.

Firstly, a pet like any other animal needs to eat and shit. They have a daily schedule that needs to be attended to. Like for example, my pet dog eats 2 meals a day, once in the morning and once in the night. He gets his shower on Saturdays. So, caring for a pet actually encourages nurturance, responsibility and adherence to a daily schedule. This is especially a solid reason for you to convince your parent to get that pet you’ve been wanting.

Secondly, pets improve a person’s mood. No matter how angry, sad or stressed out you may be, spending time with your pet will put your focus and attention on it. There are actually 2 things that can suddenly improve your mood. One is a pet and the other is a baby. In this case, adopting a pet is easily more attainable than a baby.

Lastly, the third reason why you should own a pet is for accompaniment. This is especially beneficial to the elderly. Pets make you feel accepted every time. For example, my pet dog is usually left hanging around alone in the compound of my house. Even if you leave him alone the whole day, he will still come and lick me whenever I’m around. If that’s not love, then I don’t know what is. Pets are also good listeners. Sharing your burden with it helps to alleviate your mind and put you at peace.

Posted by:  Just One More Pet

Source:  True Health Is True Wealth

Permalink: https://justonemorepet.wordpress.com/2008/09/17/pet-therapy/

September 17, 2008 Posted by | animals, Just One More Pet, Pets, Success Stories, We Are All God's Creatures | , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , | 7 Comments

Are You A Better Actor Because You Have A Pet??

Walleve

Studies are showing that pets help with both emotionally and physically ill patients, the elderly, loneliness, depression, children with ADD and ADHD and now it seems like they just might help aspiring actors as well… JOMP~

Remember those mortifying, eye-roll-inducing improv classes where the teacher would make you pretend to be an animal and walk across the room as that creature in front of the whole class? Well, to this day I have no clue whether my crouching around on a dusty linoleum floor impersonating a tarantula when I was 19 resulted in my becoming a master of my craft, but I know for sure that there’s another version of this acting exercise that works much better for me: having actual live animals around to watch.

Inspired by the hit movie Wall-E, I went on a mission a few weeks ago to find two kittens to adopt. I knew exactly what they would look like: one would be an orange tabby that I would call (of course) Wall-E, and the other would be an all-white female cat that I would name Eve. If you’ve seen the film, you know that Eve is the pretty female robot who captures Wall-E’s heart.

Thanks to Craigslist, I was soon bringing home Eve from a rough L.A. neighborhood called South Gate. Wall-E came from a friend’s neighbor whose feral cat had a litter of multi-colored babies.Walle_3

Soon my daily life was transformed into a behavioral observation workshop. I watched as Eve and Wall-E used different techniques to cope with the radical change from the surroundings they had known before. When I got Eve in the car to drive home, she immediately crammed her entire body in the crevice between the windshield and the dashboard so she could “hide” from the terrifying prison of my Toyota Scion. Her eyes filled with fear, she spent the entire ride home farting on my friend’s shoulder. Lovely.

I wondered if I had ever been that scared for my life, and whether or not I would be able to portray such panic on stage or screen. I knew that by watching Eve that day, I was closer to knowing how.

Two weeks later Eve is transformed into a sweet, playful feline princess with a belly full of Pounce treats. Feminine and elegant, I thought she would be the perfect role model for Wall-E. Wrong. The smaller orange tabby entered the picture and was immediately chased into the empty kitty crawl space of my couch, conveniently provided by the cheap-ass furniture manufacturer known as Ikea. I had to turn the couch on its side several times before I saw a single shivering paw dangling between the two corkboard panels. Sheer terror, justified. Eve was the head of the household and boy was she pissed about the new kid in town.

I watched them more. Fighting, growling, hissing, chasing. Then a little less fighting, some suspicious smelling, and chasing resumed. Day by day, the hostility slowly eased until one day I caught them snoozing next to each other under the bed. They didn’t even bother denying it. They just looked at me and (I swear) shrugged.

Without knowing it, in the last month, my cats told a story. By being their characters, a perfect dramaturgical arc unfurled. It was without a doubt, a better acting lesson than crawling around pretending to be a spider for a bunch of other acting students.

Wall-E and Eve are more than living up to their superstar blockbuster names; I can’t wait to tune in tomorrow to see what happens next.

If you know you’re a better actor because of your pet, leave a comment below and tell me why!

Cat photo provided by author; Wall-E photo courtesy Disney/Pixar.

Miki Yamashita

Also Featured in BackStage LA Actor Online Magazine

August 23, 2008 Posted by | Just One More Pet, On The Lighter Side, Pets, Unusual Stories | , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , | Leave a comment

Great Update About Dogs Removed From Michael Vick’s Compound

Heard a great update today… It seems that all but two of the dogs removed from Michael Vick’s dog fighting compound have been rescued and placed. I just caught the tail end of coverage today as I was walking by my TV… I believe it was on Entertainment Tonight. It is a great ending to a tragic situation for all but two of theses dogs, mostly pit bulls. One has even been trained for pet therapy.

Usually in dog fighting ring situations like this, the dogs are all destroyed, but because of the media focus on this particular story, the ASPCA stepped in…. “I thought, if we see four or five dogs that we can save, I’ll be happy,” said Randy Lockwood, an animal behaviorist with the American Society for the Prevention of Cruelty to Animals. “If we had to euthanize the majority, then we could at least say we’d tried.”

Let us hope that we all learned something from this situation and that it not only will change laws and awareness but also the realization by in most cases, this dogs who are victims and have already led horrible lives can be saved. See related article below:

Saving Michael Vick’s Dogs

Pit Bulls Rescued From the Football Player’s Fighting Ring Show Progress in an Unprecedented Rehabilitation Effort

Shelter for the Scarred

When football superstar Michael Vick pleaded guilty last year to conspiring to run a dogfighting operation, we knew he had kept about 50 pit bulls on his 15-acre property in rural Surry County, Va., on a road named Moonlight. We knew the dogs were chained to car axles near wooden hovels for shelter. And we knew the dogs that didn’t fight were beaten, shot, hanged, electrocuted or drowned. For rest of this story…

August 21, 2008 Posted by | Animal Rights And Awareness, Just One More Pet, Pets, Political Change, Stop Animal Cruelty, Success Stories | , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , | 9 Comments

Animals Help the Ailing, the Elderly, and the Young

Researchers are finding that animals, especially small ones, have shown promise in helping with many conditions, both social and physical:

A Naples Community Hospital has volunteers who bring their pets to visit patients. The animals are specially trained to remain calm and must pass a “good Citizen” test before they are certified for hospital visits.

Here is a short list of conditions being helped by enlisting cats and dogs

  • Pets help Alzheimer’s patients by bringing them back to the present. Specially trained pups can also help alert others that an Alzheimer’s patient has wandered into harm’s way. “Pets can provide a measure of safety to people with the disease,” says Thomas Kirk, a vice president of a chapter of the Alzheimer’s Association.
  • Children who suffer from attention deficit disorder (ADD) are able to focus on a pet, which helps them learn to concentrate.
  • Mentally ill patients, or those with emotional problems, share a common bond when a cat or dog enters the room. Instead of reacting negatively to one another, it boosts morale and fosters a positive environment.
  • Pets are an antidote to depression. Life in a care facility can be boring. A visit from a therapy cat or dog breaks the daily routine and stimulates interest in the world outside.
  • Pets provide social interaction. In a health care facility, people come out of their rooms to socialize with the animals and with each other.
  • Everyone has the need to touch. Many humans are uncomfortable hugging or touching strangers, even those close to them. Some people are alone and have no hands to hold, no bodies to hug. But rubbing the fur of a cat or dog can provide a stimulation that is sorely lacking. The nonverbal connection is invaluable in the healing process.

(Perhaps we can convince the Chinese to re-think their eating habits and leave dogs and cats off their menus once the Olympic are over and to develop a “Good Citizen Program” instead with dogs and cats for hospitals, institutions and kids with challenges??)

August 20, 2008 Posted by | Animal Rights And Awareness, Just One More Pet, Pets | , , , , , , , , , , , , | 2 Comments