. . . Because Pets Are Good Medicine | God's World News
. . . Because Pets Are Good Medicine
Citizen Ship
Posted: September 01, 2023
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    Greta Donnay plays with her dog, Rambo, at a hospital in Sint-Truiden, Belgium. (Reuters/Bart Biesemans)
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    Greta Donnay gets to see Rambo once each week at the hospital. (Reuters/Bart Biesemans)
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    Carter Giglio holds his father’s hand and pets service dog Barney before getting a shot. (AP/Carolyn Kaster)
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    Ro Mantooth and Rachel Niebur visit a dog park with their dogs, Champ, left, and Petey. The dog park is part of a homeless shelter that allows residents to bring pets. (AP/Richard Vogel)
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    Pets can help owners live healthier lives. (AP/Bilal Hussein)
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Did you know it’s actually healthy to own a pet? Remember that the next time you ask Mom or Dad for a puppy!

According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), pets offer perks. Pet owners often get more exercise and spend more time outside because they’re walking pets. People with pets sometimes also have lower blood pressure and cholesterol.

What else do pets help with?

Loneliness.

Pet owners on Skid Row will tell you that. And so will pet owners in a hospital in Belgium.

Bring Your Dog to the Hospital?

Officials at a Belgian hospital are catching on. They built a pavilion to allow pets to visit patients who will stay for a long time. Why? To boost patients’ wellbeing.

Most hospitals worldwide do not allow pet visits. It’s easy to see why. Animals might be dirty or carry sickness. They might contaminate a clean hospital. For years, long-term patients at Belgium’s Sint-Trudo hospital could see their pets only in the courtyard.

But patients there talked with hospital psychologists. An idea grew for a pet visiting space.

The new pavilion is separate from but connected to the hospital.

“For long-term hospital residents, mental wellbeing is very important in their recovery. And reconnecting with pets really helps,” says hospital spokeswoman Miet Driesen.

Patients may meet with pets at the pavilion for one hour per week. Only dogs and cats are allowed.

Patient Greta Donnay reunites with her dog Rambo in the new space. “Seeing your dog in itself does not cure you,” she says. “But it gives you a lift.”

A joyful heart is good medicine, but a crushed spirit dries up the bones. — Proverbs 17:22