According to scientific research, being in the presence of a pet can have many benefits. In fact, the simple act of petting an animal can lower a person’s blood pressure. In the medical profession, there are many physicians who recognize the positive impact a pet can have for an owner who may be hospitalized or dealing with a serious illness.
Dr. Edward Creagan, an oncologist at Mayo Clinic, believes strongly in the healing aspect of pets. In fact, he feels so strongly about it, he writes down the name of a patient’s pet when he takes a medical history.
At Mayo Clinic, where physicians use a team approach to care for patients, you may even find a “furry” member of some care teams. A care provider with fur? Yes! He may not have a medical degree, but he comes with his own credentials and specialized training. His name is Jack, and he is a nine-year-old miniature pinscher who is Mayo’s first, and only, facility-based service dog. If you read the Sharing Mayo Clinic post from May 7, 2010, you will know he was the inspiration for a new children’s book, “Dr. Jack the Helping Dog,” now available at all Mayo-affiliated retail outlets on each campus (Arizona, Florida and Minnesota).
In the video below, Dr. Creagan talks about the healing aspect of pets.
Barbara Sorensen is a communications consultant in the Department of Public Affairs, Mayo Clinic.