The importance of companion animal relationships in the lives of older people

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This article presents some findings of a small exploratory research project into the relationships that older people have with their companion animals, in particular their dogs. The authors show how animals can improve and help a person's emotional and physical well-being. The case study presented here aims to illustrate the significance that companion animals might have for some older people. It is consistent with a key finding of the study that, irrespective of age, support and companionship was gained and therefore the importance of companion animals needs to be considered as part of individual care planning.

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