There is a large body of evidence to show that interaction with animals is good for you! Petting a dog can reduce stress levels, slow heartbeat and reduce blood pressure as well as giving happiness and comfort to people in need. The Therapet's (managed by the Canine Concern Scotland Trust) visit hospital wards and care homes for the elderly and disabled on a regular basis – they are often timetabled into the Activities Calendar. The dogs encourage conversation and reminiscing by patients about their own dogs and past life for those with dementia. The dog is a conversation starter even for those patients who are not dog lovers – after a few weeks they usually decide this dog is fine!
There are 12 dogs who visit in NHS Grampian with their owners on a regular basis, and many more visit care homes in Aberdeen city and shire. 2 dogs visit Aberdeen Royal Infirmary, and 1 dog visits Woodend Hospital. The owners are volunteers whose pets are sociable, but not too boisterous. Both owner and dog find the visits very rewarding and feedback from staff and patients makes you feel very much appreciated.
This article appeared in “NHS News - Grampian” online autumn 2016 edition.
Link to item at www.nhsgrampian.org/grampianfoi/files/NHS_news_Autumn_2016.pdf
Item on page 3
Words and Picture by CCST Area Representative Fiona Watts
Picture above; Fiona Watts (middle) and her visiting Therapet Bruno a lovely GSD
Picture below; extract from pdf