Pets Give Patients A Boost
December 15, 2009, 8:57 AM
Having a pet has its benefits: companionship, trust and security. And when someone's sick and in a hospital, they can also have a positive role in the healing process.
Six-year-old Danny Hansen's getting a special visit from a four-legged friend.
"You shake paws. You shake paws," Hansen said.
But this isn't the first time Danny's met Disney.
"It's his second. He was here last Thursday for the first time," mom Cyndi Hansen said.
And Danny's been anticipating another visit ever since.
"Danny really enjoys animals so he looks forward to this every Thursday when they come in," Cyndi said.
Going through his second round of chemotherapy treatments, the visits help lift spirits.
"It brightens up the day when he's having a bad day or a bad week," Hansen said.
Diagnosed with Acute Myeloid Lukemia, Danny's battling a rare type of cancer that's more common in adults than in children. He had to start treatments immediately but programs like this help the family focus on the better things in life.
"It brings happiness to a place that has such sadness in it with little kids having to go through life-threatening diseases," Cyndi said.
Pet therapy started at the Children's Hospital just one month ago. Three dogs and their handlers come once a week going from room to room visiting sick kids.
"Especially for some of the children here for long periods of time. Some of them come from homes where they live on the farm and are used to being around animals," Director of Pediatrics Connie Schmidt said.
But it's not new to Sanford. The program began at the Medical Center and has now made its way to the new Children's Hospital. Schmidt says it's a way for kids and parents to stay positive.
"It's a distraction. A modality to think about something different to connect with an animal similar to their pet at home so familiarizing their environment even though it's for a brief time," Schmidt said.
"It makes me feel happy just to see a smile on his face and it looks like the dog enjoys it," Cyndi said.
And with wagging tails, Danny isn't the only happy one in the room.
Once Danny finishes chemo, his mom says he'll need a bone marrow transplant. As for the dogs, they are all professionally trained to deal with different situations.
© 2009 KELOLAND TV. All Rights Reserved.
4/13/2015 7:34 AM
According to Brandon Police Chief David Kull, 47-year-old homeowner David Smith was transported to a Sioux Falls hospital where he was pronounced dead...
4/11/2015 12:42 PM
After being declared brain dead Saturday morning, the toddler hospitalized after receiving severe head trauma in the care of a Rapid City man has offi...
4/13/2015 10:49 AM
Several law enforcement agencies assisted in a procession to transport a firefighter who died in a Brandon house fire.
4/13/2015 10:15 AM
The arrests were made following investigations into sex trafficking in Sioux Falls by the South Dakota Division of Criminal Investigation and Internet...
4/16/2015 12:12 PM
An 11-year-old Patrick Henry Middle School student is charged with aggravated assault and possession of a weapon after bringing a BB gun to school.