Health Report: Dogs Helping Patients 11/24/13

- Some of the best hospitals in the country are going to the dogs, but it's a good thing!
Now man's best friend is helping patients and their families feel better and get well sooner.

They are furry, they are friendly, and these pups are on a mission!

Each week Sunday a Golden-Doodle visits this Mayo Clinic radiation oncology waiting room. His job? To cheer up everyone he meets!
Diane Parisi's husband is having spinal surgery. She was feeling sad and nervous before "Sunday" walked in.

Diane Parisi says: "He just turned my, it's almost cliché, but he turned my frown to a smile."
Sunday's owner, Kristi Leonard, says her pooch lifts moods every day.

Kristi Leonard, Mayo Clinic, says: "Literally, the way peoples' faces light up. If they're just walking along and they see the dog, and it's just, ah, like a breath of fresh air."
But dogs don't just make people feel better, they also have health benefits!

Interacting with man's best friend can lower blood pressure, decrease anxiety, and improve lung function. One study showed heart attack patients with dogs were eight-times more likely to be alive a year later.

Nancy Skaran, administrator, Mayo Clinic, says: "It really changes the whole feeling of an exam room when the dogs come in."

Zoe also visits patients and their families. Her owner takes time off work to volunteer.
Linda Gibson, volunteer, the Caring Canines Program, says: "It's just the most incredible feeling I've ever had."

They take their work seriously,but when the day's done even the mightiest mutts get, well dog tired!

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