Dogs give quiet comfort to family members and recovery workers

Worn out from the grief of losing a relative on Flight 3407, the woman found refuge in her hotel bed only to realize it was not enough.

She’d heard that some special therapists had been brought in and requested that they come to her room.

In a matter of minutes, a dog was lying beside her and another was standing at her bedside.

Canine therapy had begun.

Merlot, a black Labrador retriever, lay beside the woman and waited for a sign to engage.

“It was immediate. She reached over and petted the dog and hugged it,” said Tara Hughes, the lead Red Cross mental health volunteer at the Family Assistance Center for relatives of the deceased crash victims.

Kim Griswold, who cofounded the team with Kregal, said the relatives were mostly silent as they interacted with the dogs. “They’d kneel beside them or sit on the ground and be with the dogs,” she said.

What amazed the mental health officials at the assistance center was that the dogs themselves intrinsically knew who was in the most need of their companionship.

“They seem to really be able to sense who needs them and they will find that person,” Hughes said. “If the person responds, great. If the person doesn’t, they move away. They do their job beautifully.”

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I get canine - and feline - therapy from mine every day. They're nice to have around.

There are actually studies that prove that just petting or hugging a furry pet like a dog or a cat has positive health benefits. It lowers pulse rates and blood pressure, and reduces the release of stress hormones into the bloodstream.

It's a healthy way to help let go of a bad day.
Nice post Joe. My aunt has two Cocker Spaniels that she brings to the hospitals as therapy dogs. It is amazing how much they can help someone. It is truly an incredible thing and it works.
And Philly you get a lot of it...
dogs r great
I enjoy my dog and cat as well. They have a comforting "aire" around them. This is a very good tool to keep in the fire service arsenal.
Your dog house must have a nice bar in it. :o)
Agreed -- even though the dogs can cause the stress sometimes, they can work wonders!
No smart ass comment about this one. Dogs make us better people, I hope we are always worthy of their help.
This is truly a gift that most humans have lost. Always giving and only expecting fair treatment in return.
Yeah, but sometimes it's the wrong attention like when you poop on the floor!
So true, Sarge!
Indeed Rev.

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