Animal-assisted therapy: Paws with a cause

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Abstract

Ranger, the cardiac Pet Therapy standard poodle, was called upon by a family member to visit Mrs. M, a patient hospitalized for worsening heart failure. Although short of breath, Mrs. M started talking to Ranger as he rested quietly on the bed beside her. She told him in a soft voice that she knew she was sick but “you, my friend, give me strength and courage.” Mrs. M died 1 week later. Soon after, the family stated in a survey that the interaction between Mrs. M and Ranger was very important to Mrs. M and that she had looked forward to her visits with Ranger. Mrs. M indicated to her family that Ranger made her feel calm and protected as she faced her illness.

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