Loyola Medicine Logo According to a research, adults who use pet therapy while recuperating from total joint-replacement surgery may need 50 percent less pain medication as compared to those who do not use. Julia Havey, RN, study presenter and senior systems analyst, Department of Medical Center Information Systems, Loyola University Health System (LUHS) and her colleague Frances Vlasses, PhD, RN, NEA-BC brought up puppies to develop them into assistance dogs more than a decade ago through a program known as Canine Companions for Independence (CCI).

This non-profit organization apparently offers extremely skilled assistance dogs to individuals with physical and developmental disabilities for no charge.

Julia Harvey commented, “Evidence suggests that animal-assisted therapy (AAT) can have a positive effect on a patient’s psychosocial, emotional and physical well being. These data further support these benefits and build the case for expanding the use of pet therapy in recovery.”

Vlasses, associate professor & chair of Health Systems Management and Policy, Loyola University Chicago Marcella Niehoff School of Nursing, mentioned, “As nurses, we are committed to improving the quality of life for others. This service experience has provided us with a unique way to combine our love for animals with care for people with special needs.”

Havey, RN, senior systems analyst, Department of Medical Center Information Systems, LUHS, added, “You might see our four-legged friends around Loyola’s campus from time to time. Part of our responsibility as volunteers is to acclimate these dogs to people. The Loyola community has so graciously supported this training and the use of service dogs on campus.”

When the dogs are roughly 15 months of age, Havey and Vlasses get them back to CCI’s regional training center for around six to nine months where they are supposedly taught to be one of four kinds of assistance dogs.

Service dogs are apparently prepared to help with physical jobs and offer social support to their partners. These dogs are apparently taught about 40 commands to improve the independence of people with illnesses varying from spinal cord injuries to multiple sclerosis. Facility dogs are supposedly skilled to work with an expert in a visitation, education or health-care surrounding. They apparently can carry out more than 40 commands intended to inspire, restore or calm clients with particular requirements.

Skilled companion dogs are apparently qualified to work with an adult or child suffering from a disability under the supervision of a facilitator. These disabilities served comprise of cerebral palsy, muscular dystrophy, autism and Down’s syndrome. An experienced escort may also function as a social link to people who are not used to connecting to an individual with disabilities. Hearing dogs are supposedly taught to identify and warn partners to several sounds like doorbell, alarm clock or smoke alarm.

The average service life of every dog is said to be about eight years. Havey and Vlasses are of the opinion that animal-assisted therapy may eventually turn out to be a standard care for healing.

The findings were presented at the 18th Annual Conference of the International Society of Anthrozoology and the First Human Animal Interaction Conference (HAI) in Kansas City, Mo.