Animal Hospice Program Helps Heal - ABC5 News Des Moines, IA

Animal Hospice Program Helps Heal

By: Jason Rantala

@jarantala

jrantala@myabc5.com 

UnityPoint's Animal Assistance Program, now in its second year, brings dozens of dogs and their volunteers to patients at their hospice building.

Chance, a three-year-old German Shepard, lights up a room just by showing up, his owner says.

"When we typically come into a room, you will see a smile come directly on that patient's face," said Chance's owner Anna Childs.

Charlie is a two-year-old Beagle, and has been in the program for the last year.

"He gets lots of people loving' him up all the time, it's the best job in the world," said owner Sharon Anderson.

The program helps those in care get their mind off their condition.

"It allows them to forget for a while what stage of life they're in right now," said Anderson.

Not only does the program put smiles on faces, but program organizers say it also has very real medical benefits.

"It can lower their blood pressure, it can even reduce the need for pain meds," said Childs.

"When you leave at the end of the day, you know you've given and made a difference in someone's life."

They're looking to add even more dogs very soon. UnityPoint wants to add between 10 to 15 new dogs to the program.

They're looking for well rounded, obedient dogs, so more than just a "nice" dog.   

Fore more info, contact Jillian with UnityPoint at 515-557-3287 or e-mail jillian.vandonselaar@unitypoint.org.

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