Posted: Mar 15 2010
Above: Pediatric patient Delana Guffey, 14, of Waynesville, enjoys time with pet therapy dog Dooley at Mission Children’s Hospital
The dogs from Paws with a Purpose offer aid and comfort to the sick and ailing. Spending time with an animal has proven to be extremely therapeutic, speeding up healing time and easing stress. Volunteers with the nonprofit organization Paws with a Purpose bring specially trained pet therapy dogs to hospitals in and around Asheville, North Carolina.
“The visits lower stress and anxiety and create healing bonds”, says Pam Hardin, Paws with a Purpose founder/executive director and pet therapy coordinator at Mission Hospital. "Dogs are perceptive and more in tune with nature than we are,” she says. “They can sense what a patient needs.”
“Pet therapy helps lift moods, which can relieve symptoms like nausea,” says Dr. Orren Beaty III, a pediatric oncologist at Mission Hospital. “It gives children a chance to just be a kid with a dog."
Learn more about Paws with a Purpose.
Photo Credit: Mission Hospital/Michelle Rabell/Special to WNC