Fri Mar 06 04:57:09 PST 2015
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Pet Therapy Scientifically Proven to Work

Alicia Bertine has been battling cancer for seven years. The 30 year old says if it wasn't for her therapy dog Piper, she would not have gotten through the last six months . “She distracts me, especially when I'm feeling bad.” Alicia has a rare cancer that affects the tip of her small intestine near the pancreas. Piper sits with her while she receives chemotherapy. “Psychologically it helps tremendously because it takes your mind off the chemo,” she said. “It takes your mind off the pain.” In an experiment at Mount Sinai Beth Israel, researchers found when cancer patients were visited by certified therapy dogs during treatment, the patients’ emotional well-being and quality of life improved. “The patients actually came for their chemo and radiation more frequently, and it lowered their anxiety and stress.” Rachel McPherson is the executive director of The Good Dog Foundation. She says the study is the first to show the benefits of animal-assisted therapy in adult cancer patients. “These results will enable hospitals to bring therapy dogs in to visit cancer patients on a regular basis.” Doctors say Alicia's cancer is now in remission. “Piper is the best medicine.” She says as soon her treatment's done, she getting a dog of her own. The patients in the study had aggressive cancers and were receiving intense chemotherapy and radiation.

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