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Man's Best Friend Helps with Occupational Therapy

Posted Aug 24 2008 1:49pm
ANNOUNCER: Anyone who has a pet knows animals can provide emotional support. But in hospitals across the country, therapy dogs like Rusty help with physical and occupational rehabilitation as well.

JESSICA DAIGLE, OCCUPATIONAL THERAPIST:To kind of take the biomechanical stuff we're working on, sitting balance, strengthening, things like that, and put a purpose to it - that actually works right in with the whole occupational therapy philosophy and that's why it works so well.

ANNOUNCER: Studies have shown that pets can lower blood pressure and ease depression. In occupational therapy, volunteer dogs give patients something to focus on – other than the pain.

BARBARA, OCCUPATIONAL THERAPY PATIENT: I wanted to be good to Rusty, you know, gentle and nice. So it takes the focus off me and puts it on with the dog.

ANNOUNCER: Any type of dog can be a therapy dog – provided he has the right training, temperament and is comfortable around strangers.

LESLIE DUMONT, GOOD DOG FOUNDATION VOLUNTEER: It's always been the case where when he's walking on the sidewalk he thinks it's his job to greet everyone. He has a great appetite for interacting with humans. So I think he loves the job.

ANNOUNCER: Thanks for joining us on today's once daily.

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