Monday, December 24, 2007

Benefits for the Elderly

Notes : All informations are abstract from Doctor Dog (Animals Asia Foundation) 1st edition of The Definitive Dr. Dog Guide ~ Volunteers.

Elderly people who have pets visit their doctor 16% less than those who do not have pets. Dog owners receive the greatest benefits as on average they visit their doctors 21% less often than non-pet owners do. (1)

"Research by Professor Parminder Raina et al. of Canada's University of British Columbia showed that on average the elderly who own pets had 30 encounters with the health care system whereas non-pet owners on average had 37 encounters.
Seniors who owned pets had shorter length stays (8 days) than non-pet owners (13 days)." (2)

"The mere presence of a dog may facilitate interactions with the non-communicative patients, assist in recall of memories and help sequence temporal events in patients with head injuries or chronic degenerative diseases of the brain such as Alzheimer's disease, and teach appropriate behaviour patterns in those with emotional disabilities." (3)

(1) Phil Arkow - 'Pet Therapy : A Study & Resource Guide for the Use of Companion Animals in Selected Therapies. The Loving Bond and Dynamic Relationships in Practice.'
(2) This report was presented at the 1998 International Conference on Human-Animal Interactions
(3) Joanne Roth - 'Pet Therapy - Uses with Geriatric Adults. "The International Journal of Psychosocial Rehabilitation" University of La Verne December 1999.

Dr. Kylie 1st Visit - House of Victory, Elderly Home, Old Klang Road, Kuala Lumpur. 22nd December 2007, Saturday 1:30 pm till 3:00 pm

How Animal Therapy Works?

Dogs provide a unique and often major source of support for people, increasing person's perception of his or her own ability to cope.

Improvements in psychological components of general health amongst patients are attributed to :-
- the increase in sensory stimulation that is brought about by the presence of dogs,
- the increase in social interaction, and
- the increase in communication.

"No one appreciates the very special genius of your conversation as much as a dog does."
~ Christopher Morley

Dr. Kylie's Dr. Dog Examination

Basic Obedience
  • Quick responds to basic obedience commands such as "Sit", "Stay", "Come" and "Down",
  • Your dog should remain under control in moderately stressful situations such as unexpected loud noises, crowds, tails or legs pulling and strange locations.

Basic Requirements For Potential Dr. Dogs

Dr. Kylie on graduation day with her red bandana.

  • Dogs must be at least two years old and healthy,
  • Both male and female dogs must be de-sexed,
  • All vacinations must be uo to date and proof of vaccination provided for our records. (Photocopies of vaccination records are acceptable),
  • Dogs must be suitable temperament and have a calm, friendly nature,
  • Dogs must display basic obedience skills,
  • Dogs must have lived with the handler for at least 6 months prior to examination,
  • Dogs must be clean and presentable at all times,
  • Dogs should not routinely be dressed up in costumes,
  • Dogs should receives regular annual veterinary checks ups, even if they are healthy and have no obvious medical problems,
  • Fighting dogs including Pit Bull Terriers, Dogo Argentino, Perro de Presa Canarios, Fila Braziliero, Japanese Tosa, Akitas or crosses involving these types will not be selected. Wolf-hybrids will also not be selected.
  • Under the requirements of the Dangerous Dogs legislation in Hong Kong, all dogs over 20 kilos must be leashed in a public place.

Joining Dr. Dog Program - Volunteer Requirements

Volunteer Requirements:-
  • Must be over the age of 18,
  • Must be clean and presentable at all times,
  • Must be committed to the program and its aims,
  • Must have good "people skills" and an enthusiastic personality,
  • Must be willing to be a part of a team and enjoy meeting new people,
  • Must be sensitive to each patient's needs and cultural and social background. (Be open and understand that patients may want to talk to you, or only to your dog),
  • Should use open-ended leading questions,
  • Should gently encourage interaction,
  • Should be good listeners,
  • Should be patient,
  • Should assess their own personal needs - Are you comfortable with severely disabled people? Do you have a preference to visit certain groups such as the elderly or children?
  • Should respect people's choices - some people may be nervous or frightened and need gentle encouragement, whilst others may have no wish to meet with your dog and should be given their space accordingly.