Therapy dogs are pretty common for many different illnesses and difficult situations. Simon recently found the article above about how therapy dogs can help with dementia and it resonated with him. This article focused on how therapy dogs or cats can particularly bring improvements in reducing agitation, improving physical activity, improving eating, and providing pleasure to dementia patients.
The Garcia family has Puddles – a seven year old English Springer Spaniel. She’s a great dog – very loving, well trained, and fairly calm now that she’s getting older. Puddles has been with the family her whole life including when Jorge was in earlier stages of the disease. What’s great is that Jorge still seems to recognize her when she’s around even though she doesn’t currently live with him. But when she’s around it seems to provide a sense of familiarity.
Having Puddles around often seems to give him a sense of responsibility as well. He enjoys taking care of something and the sense of independence. It’s a nice change to him feeling like he’s the one being taken care of. He’ll walk her on the lease and throw or kick a ball for her. He’ll often sit on the couch and pet her for a while too. It seems to help him stay calm and comfortable even in unfamiliar situations. So we’ll keep bringing Puddles around and hopefully she’ll keep adding pleasure to his life.