When You Really Need Your Furiend

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If you have a dog companion, you know that a quick dose of unconditional dog love can do wonders when you’re feeling under the weather. A nuzzle, or a sympathetic lick or a head placed gently on your lap allows you to momentarily step away from whatever it is that’s ailing you.

But what if you’ve been hospitalized & been separated from your dog? There is a new pilot program at a Canadian hospital (Juravinski Hospital) that allows patients to receive visits from their own furry loved ones. Canadian Donna Jenkins began Zachary’s Paws for Healing (ZPH) after losing her nephew to Hodgkin’s Lymphoma. Zachary Noble was a big supporter of companion pet visits & he longed to see his pooches while hospitalized.

Jenkins has worked with medical staff, infection control workers & volunteer services to develop a series of policies & procedures to ensure all patients were safeguarded from potential health issues.

Before a pet is granted permission for a hospital visit, ZPH evaluates the safety of everyone involved. If it’s decided the environment is too stressful for the companion animal or there are complications that would make the visitation risky, volunteers will stop the process. For those lucky ones that are approved, upon arrival the staff cleans the animal & then transports him in a covered cage so as not to come into contact with patients other than his/her owner.

There are now more than a dozen similar programs & hospitals in the U.S. that make pet visitations possible.

So far in Canada,  ZPH has facilitated 25 four-legged visitors who have brightened the lives of their pet parents in the intensive care unit. Jenkins confirms that she & her team are being solicited every day from hospitals across Canada & are building kits that will allow other facilities to build programs of their own.

CEO Olivia

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