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AP PHOTOS: Dogs provide therapy in a Brazilian hospital


              In this Nov. 17, 2016 photo, Elizangela Santos, a 35-year-old receiving cancer treatment, rubs the chin of a Schnauzer dog named Paola ...

              In this Nov. 24, 2016 photo, Nivaldo Lopes, a 60-year-old geriatric patient, pets a Schnauzer dog named Paola on his bed at the Support...

              In this Nov. 17, 2016 photo, Priscila Cremer walks a German shepherd named Pacato to visit another patient as they make their rounds as...

              In this Nov. 17, 2016 photo, 20-year-old patient Gleisiane Oliveira watches Shitzu dog named Mille be given a treat on her bed at the S...

              In this Nov. 17, 2016 photo, Antonio Araujo, a 67-year-old geriatric patient, gets a visit from a Shitzu dog named Mille as he rests in...

              In this Nov. 17, 2016 photo, a Schnauzer dog named Paola lays with Jaqueline Castro, who is being treated for a degenerative disease, i...

              In this Nov. 17, 2016 photo, Soraya Avila shows off her dog Raja running through an obstacle course set up in the hallway of the Suppor...

              In this Nov. 17, 2016 photo, Euripedes Carreira, a 67-year-old being treated for cancer, interacts with a Shitzu dog named Mille and Ge...

              In this Nov. 17, 2016 photo, Herivania de Souza, a 30-year-old being treated for cancer, pets a Shitzu dog named Mille who visits her i...

              In this Nov. 24, 2016 photo, Jaqueline Castro, a 27-year-old being treated for a degenerative disease, plays with Schnauzer dog named P...

              In this Nov. 17, 2016 photo, Nivaldo Lopes, a 60-year-old geriatric patient, pets a Schnauzer dog named Paola in his bed at the Support...

              In this Nov. 17, 2016 photo, volunteers lead their therapy dogs into the Support Hospital of Brasilia to visit patients in Brasilia, Br...

In this Nov. 17, 2016 photo, Elizangela Santos, a 35-year-old receiving cancer treatment, rubs the chin of a Schnauzer dog named Paola ...

In this Nov. 24, 2016 photo, Nivaldo Lopes, a 60-year-old geriatric patient, pets a Schnauzer dog named Paola on his bed at the Support...

In this Nov. 17, 2016 photo, Priscila Cremer walks a German shepherd named Pacato to visit another patient as they make their rounds as...

In this Nov. 17, 2016 photo, 20-year-old patient Gleisiane Oliveira watches Shitzu dog named Mille be given a treat on her bed at the S...

In this Nov. 17, 2016 photo, Antonio Araujo, a 67-year-old geriatric patient, gets a visit from a Shitzu dog named Mille as he rests in...

In this Nov. 17, 2016 photo, a Schnauzer dog named Paola lays with Jaqueline Castro, who is being treated for a degenerative disease, i...

In this Nov. 17, 2016 photo, Soraya Avila shows off her dog Raja running through an obstacle course set up in the hallway of the Suppor...

In this Nov. 17, 2016 photo, Euripedes Carreira, a 67-year-old being treated for cancer, interacts with a Shitzu dog named Mille and Ge...

In this Nov. 17, 2016 photo, Herivania de Souza, a 30-year-old being treated for cancer, pets a Shitzu dog named Mille who visits her i...

In this Nov. 24, 2016 photo, Jaqueline Castro, a 27-year-old being treated for a degenerative disease, plays with Schnauzer dog named P...

In this Nov. 17, 2016 photo, Nivaldo Lopes, a 60-year-old geriatric patient, pets a Schnauzer dog named Paola in his bed at the Support...

In this Nov. 17, 2016 photo, volunteers lead their therapy dogs into the Support Hospital of Brasilia to visit patients in Brasilia, Br...

BRASILIA, Brazil (AP) — Each week, patients at the Support Hospital of Brasilia receive visits from a special breed of therapist: dogs trained to help them recover from disease or injury.

Big and small, from German shepherds to Shih Tzus, the dogs get into bed with some patients to snuggle during the 15-minute visits. Folks who are more mobile may take an animal to a crafts class, or play with it in the hallways.

Designed for people who have advanced-stage cancer, live with chronic disease or are recovering from trauma, the program of canine interactions assists with both mental and physical rehabilitation.

"A bit of the sadness goes away," said Jaqueline Castro, a 27-year-old patient with a degenerative nerve disorder who received three visits in a month.

The project began about five months ago and now counts 60 volunteers who bring their pets to the hospital in Brazil's capital each week.

But not just any old mutt can make the cut: Only about one out of every 10 dogs whose owners volunteer is accepted, according to program coordinator Nayara Brea.

The animals must pass extensive health checks and undergo training, as they are brought right into the wards of the hospital. They must be exceptionally calm to avoid stressing out the patients. They can't bark, and they have to be gentle with both humans and other canines.

A therapy dog "accepts the patients without any judgment," said Valeria Carvalho, who brings her miniature Schnauzer, Paola, to the hospital. "People start to have a different perspective on life, on health."


Updated : 2021-08-04 15:14 GMT+08:00