TheraPaws, a program run by The Mayhew Animal Home in London, England, brings animals to people who are sick, elderly or at the end of their lives. Volunteers take their dogs, and sometimes kittens, to hospice care programs, hospitals and dementia care homes.
As soon as people see the dogs, their faces light up. They help give hope to these patients who don’t have much left. One woman there hadn’t eaten or spoken in three days. But when she had a dog put on her bed, she began to pet her and then started talking about her. From that point on, she talked to her family again and agreed to take her medicine.
There’s just something about these therapy dogs that make people feel alive again. Of course, it’s part of the dogs’ jobs, but even non-therapy dogs can have this effect on people. They bring people joy and even give others a purpose to keep on keepin’ on.
Hospice isn’t a place where you would normally hear laughing, but these dogs put smiles on people’s faces and get them laughing again for the first time in a long time. Fifty TheraPaws dogs visit 43 care homes all over London, but because the program has been so amazing, they are planning on expanding.
Numerous studies have shown that pets can lessen the symptoms of depression and help pet parents maintain a positive, optimistic outlook. A dog is very good for your health. Not only because it gets you moving, but also because they can help to reduce stress, lower blood pressure and promote the production of endorphins, which help you feel happy!