Examining The Effect of Therapy Dogs With Childhood Cancer Patients

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2013-02-08 10:56

Billions of dollars are being spent each year to better prevent and treat childhood cancer cases, but until there is a cure, what can we do each day to improve the health, healing and quality of life in children suffering from the disease? The American Humane Association, with the support of the Pfizer Foundation, has issued a report on a recent literature review about the positive effects of therapy dogs on children with cancer.

Children of all ages, races, genders and socio-economic statuses – and their families – are affected by cancer every year. Per the American Childhood Cancer Organization (ACCO), each year in the United States, there are approximately 13,400 children between the ages of birth and 19 years of age who are diagnosed with cancer. At any given time, there are more than 40,000 kids undergoing cancer treatment.

One of the worst side effects of pediatric cancer is fear and the stress that it produces. Feelings of loneliness, depression, and isolation are also prevalent because of the illness itself and its treatment. This mental stress may ultimately affect their physical health as well.

For many families, a pet offers daily companionship and joy in their daily lives. But there is research that our furry friends can do so much more. There is promising evidence that animals can support our health and emotional well-being by offering a chance for daily activity, relaxation and reduced anxiety, enhanced social interactions, improved self-esteem and confidence, and – of course – unconditional love.

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