Pet therapy that hits close to home

Pet therapy that hits close to home

Pet therapy that hits close to home

Daily Herald – 11/3/2007 – Over my tenure with the Naperville Area Humane Society, I have heard a number of stories from people about how their lives have been touched by our Pet Therapy Program.

From senior citizens to my own best friend who was in the hospital having knee replacement surgery, these stories always express how important the pet’s visit was to their healing process and emotional well-being. However, these experiences and stories became extremely clear to me when I saw pet therapy effect my husband, Tom.

In September of 2007, my husband was diagnosed with throat cancer. Further tests indicated that this cancer had spread to his lymph nodes. Surgery was impossible for Tom as the tumors were so large that anesthesia could not be administered. The doctors put Tom on a severe regimen of chemo. We know the side effects of chemo, and these are not horror stories, they are very real.

Last month, with the help of a very good friend, Tom was told of a dog, a two-year-old Brittany Spaniel, that was going to be sent to animal control. This poor creature was the product of a nasty divorce and a new home could not yet be found. Tom asked if I would agree to go see the dog. How could I say no? When we first met Jamison, he wouldn’t look at us. He was stressed out and very frightened. Tom and I agreed to take the dog to see how it would work with the two cats we have in our home. We all had some adjustments and compromises to make. But it is the end result that is so compelling.

Since the arrival of Jamison in our home, my husband has more energy and he is smiling and happy. He exercises with the dog daily, taking long walks, bringing his chemo along with him. He has a constant companion and friend. The focus has been shifted from depression and illness to caring for a very special animal that needed my husband’s love and attention. Jamison doesn’t know about cancer — he just knows he is happy and well taken care of.

If you know someone who would benefit the way my husband has from the joys of having a companion animal, pass this story along to them. It’s amazing and I know that I am blessed for the opportunity to share in this wonderful experience.

Linda L. Linford
Executive Director
Naperville Area Humane Society

Reviewed by Lindsay 02-27-10

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