Thursday, November 05, 2009

Baxter the Therapy Dog

Palliative Care Grounds 1.10 are up at Pallimed: Arts and Humanities. They kindly honored me with The Hard to Pick Just One Award. Thank you!

If you don't have time to peruse the post, at least watch this video about Baxter the Therapy Dog. The Medical Futility Blog found this kleenex-worthy story.

Baxter died October 16, 2009 at age 19. He is rightly described as the world's best, most devoted, and oldest therapy dog. He volunteered with San Diego Hospice for 7 years. Melissa Joseph, Baxter's mom, has written a book about this amazing dog, Moments with Baxter. If your hospice or palliative care program does not already have a pet therapy program, I would highly encourage you to consider it. Pets have an innate ability to touch a person's life. Joseph's website has information on therapy dogs or you can look at Therapy Dogs International. TDI explains the benefits for hospice patients this way: "The sight of our dogs and the touch of their fur often brings peace and joy to those patients whose life once included animals. Physical contact has a calming effect and dogs have the ability to bring back pleasant memories of a person's life. Therapy dogs help combat loneliness and they give people the chance to have something to look forward to. Exposure to our dogs allows the patient to feel needed and wanted at a time in their life when death is evident."


Jason Evan Mihalko, Psy.D. said...

This is such a great story! I've recently brought a new puppy into my life and am training her to be a therapy dog. Now that I've been introducing her to my clients and brining her into my office on a regular basis I'm starting to see the amazing things a dog can offer my clients in times of need.

LeighSW said...

That is awesome! Maybe your dog can have a blog, just like Baxter.