A Canadian hospital has adopted a program that allows thoroughly cleaned pets to visit their sick humans once a week.
When one is feeling under the weather, the smallest of comforts can help shift a mood. A warm blanket, hot tea, or even the presence of a loved one can remind one of the impermanence of the situation, as well as the good days to come.
Perhaps no greater comfort exists, however, than the loving presence of a beloved pet.
Because animals are great at gifting unconditional love, Juravinski Hospital in Ontario, Canada, has adopted a program that allows pets to visit their seriously ill humans.
The program, called Zachary’s Paws for Healing, was founded by Donna Jenkins. She was inspired by her 25-year-old nephew, Zachary, to launch the program after he benefited greatly from having his dogs around him while he battled Hodgkin’s lymphoma.
“While Zachary was in the hospital for many weeks and very sick after having a stem cell transplant, he begged to see his dog, Chase. We sneaked Chase into ICU to see him and the effect it had on Zachary was remarkable. When Zachary realized he was not going to survive his cancer, he made me promise to start the organization. We had our official first patient visit September 15, 2015.
We know that when patients get to see their pet, it can improve vital signs, improve depression and the feeling of isolation, it opens communication back up and it is a reminder for a reason for the patient to get well and return home.”
Most hospitals do not allow animals to visit due to hygienic reasons. Juravinski Hospital, however, is making an exception. Once a week, the pets are allowed to visit their sick humans for about one hour.
All animals are thoroughly cleaned before they are allowed to enter, and are kept away from other patients. For anyone who has ever loved an animal, the benefit of reuniting with a furry friend goes without saying.
“Having a pet visit its human brings some normalcy back to the patient’s life. It takes their mind off the hospital and being sick for a bit.”
Scroll through some of the photos shared by Zachary’s Paws For Healing below:
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