Friday, May 20, 2011
Medical Reports: Healing Paws
If you have a dog, you know all the love and joy they can bring you. Now some dog owners are letting their dog's "Healing Paws" spread that love to sick kids. 7's Diana Diaz show us this pet therapy works.
WSVN -- This spunky Dachshund named Wilson gets a lot of attention wherever his owner takes him.
Michelle Sarason: "I take him with me around my neighborhood and people tell me he makes them feel good."
So Michelle Sarason decided to give her little dog a much bigger job. Wilson is now spreading his energy and love to sick kids at Miami Children's Hospital as part of their weekly Pet Therapy Program.
Michelle Sarason: "When you see the children and the smile on their face, and even though it's two, three minutes, I think it's great for them. Brings some normalcy to their day."
Several times a week dogs like Wilson go room to room visiting with the kids and their families. The kids can pet them, play with them or just get a friendly kiss. Many of these children are facing scary, adult words.
Diego Lazcano: "They've been testing me for a bunch of things. Cancer, leukemia, lupus."
Some have been in the hospital for weeks or even months like 3-year-old Melanie who is recovering from a rare condition.
Omar Artigas: "It's been tough lately, she's been through a lot."
But once Wilson comes through the door, all the bad stuff fades away.
Omar Artigas: "She was down, she didn't want to eat. Now, look at her, she got up, she's talking about the dog."
The kids even get to keep a picture of the dog who visited them. For 13-year-old Diego a visit by a Golden Retriever helps him remember his life at home.
Diego Lazcano: "I have a Golden Retriever myself and it was just awesome, cause it's kind of lonely here."
Loneliness is nothing a little love from a service dog can't solve.
Diego Lazcano: "I petted her. I had a ball from my dog here, she took it. She kept on licking me It just meant a lot."
The dogs seem to enjoy volunteering too.
Michelle Sarason: "He loves attention. He loves meeting people, he loves everybody."
And usually, all that love leaves these children begging for more.
Leiley Chi: "What did you tell me after you saw Wilson, that you wanted to do? That you wanted to keep it? Keep it."
Omar Artigas: "Remember daddy promised to get you a dog?"
A promise we hope he kept.
Diana Diaz: "To be a part of the program, you and your dog have to go through rigorous screenings and training."