5 Ways Service Dogs Help People with Cancer from DAILY TREAT at ROVER.COM
As dog people, we know the meaningful impact dogs have in our lives. They make us laugh, they comfort us when we’re feeling blue, and they keep us engaged with the world. Our experience with the dogs we love is enough to prove that they’re good for our health. Thankfully, the world of science and medicine has caught on to the healing powers of man’s best friend. For cancer patients, time spent with dogs can have an incredible, lasting impact.
In hospitals and homes all over the world, therapy and service dogs are called on to provide companionship and assistance to people facing this disease. Dogs can help cancer patients cope through diagnosis, treatment, and beyond.
Emotional Support on Four Legs
Therapy dogs provide much-needed emotional support to cancer patients, who are vulnerable to depression and isolation as the disease impacts their lives. Spending time with a dog—petting its soft fur, talking without fear of judgment, and being on the receiving end of all that unconditional love—can help raise their spirits even while their body is feeling awful.
A study conducted with head and neck cancer patients at Beth Israel Medical Center in New York City found that although their physical well-being deteriorated during chemotherapy, patients who spent time with a therapy dog before each treatment reported an increase in their emotional and social well-being.
As self-proclaimed “cancer Ninja” Suleika Jaouad wrote in an essay about her experience adopting an assistance dog while in cancer treatment:
“Caring for a pet is a welcome distraction from the day-to-day reality of being a cancer patient.”
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