Bring in the Dogs Wednesday, Jul 24 2019 

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Flight delayed? Bradley International Airport in Hartford, Connecticut has a remedy to keep everyone calm—pets to the rescue.

While waiting in BDL for a flight home that ended up delayed more than six hours, handlers and their therapy dogs remained available for petting. I definitely can attest to the positive affect the Australian Shepherds had on the initially irritated crowd. Grunts and groans quickly transformed into oohs and ahs once the dogs appeared. The animals’ mere presence was helpful, and after a few strokes of their luxurious coats, travelers magically became significantly calmer. Smiles blossomed across the gates between travelers and the staff working diligently to accommodate everyone.

Pet Therapy, also known as Animal Assisted Therapy, involves a handler and an animal trained to assist people with physical and emotional issues. The therapy is found to help lower blood pressure, release endorphins, alleviate pain, reduce stress, improve motor skills and joint movement, and improve verbal and social skills. Dogs and cats are the most common animals used as “therapists,” but fish, guinea pigs, horses, and even dolphins are trained.

The only drawbacks to pet therapy may occur when people are allergic to animal dander or sanitary issues arise. Pets also may be at risk from unintentional harm from people.

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Have you seen my last post on Mary K Doyle Books, “Speak to Me?” 

Our Favorite House Guest Thursday, Jun 28 2012 

My sister has a practice of warmly welcoming guests by placing fresh-cut flowers in their room prior their arrival. She teases that as the flowers fade so does the guest’s welcome. Hopefully they are on their way back home before the flowers die.

Periodically we have a guest in our home whose welcome never fades. Lois always is happy to see me, loves any food I serve, and looks at me when I talk to her like I am the most interesting person she’s ever met.

Lois is my son, Joe’s, affectionate, well-behaved and fun rescue dog. She is probably a mix of Rhodesian Ridge Back and Rottweiler. Whatever, she’s 100% lovable.

One of my favorite memories of Lois is from Thanksgiving, 2010. We had our usual dinner party of 30+ people and Lois played hard all day. At the end of the evening my husband and I stood in the foyer saying our good-byes, and of course Lois didn’t want to miss out on anything, so she was right there with us. But she was exhausted. She was so tired in fact that she fell asleep with her head on my husband’s foot right in the middle of everyone.

Lois demonstrates why we love our pets so much. How can we not love something that loves us back unconditionally? No matter how crabby we are, our dogs stand by us, quickly forgiving and forgetting any ill behavior on our part. And when we are sick, they comfort and help heal us better than any medicine. Most of the time they just make us happy.

If only people were more like dogs.

©Mary K. Doyle

(Photo of Lois curtesey of Erin Lukasiewicz)

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