Medical Minute: Pet Therapist

Posted 3/20 at 6:15pm

Meet everyone's favorite physical therapist, Hans the dog! An accident just more than a year ago left him paralyzed, but don't tell him that.

Lynn Mell, who had a stroke, said, "He'll come up and so you can pet him, and he's just the sweetest little dog."

Lynn Mell is recuperating from a stroke, a long process involving painful physical therapy.

"Least favorite is this. It's stretching out, but without it I can't walk. I can't move."

But Hans helps.

Anne Huber, Hans' owner, said, "Petting him, they have to really control the movement of their hands, they have to be gentle. They don't want to hurt the dog."

"It makes them really concentrate on their hand movement."

Research shows animal assisted therapy can reduce heart rate and blood pressure, lessen anxiety during medical procedures, increase long and short-term memory, and motivate patients.

But Hans is a special case. Though he's not a certified therapy dog, his disability reminds patients of everything they can do.

"I feel so bad for him, oh, but manages, he gets around."

Hans faces obstacles and overcomes them. He depends on a wheelchair and never lets it slow him down!

"This dog is wandering around, and it doesn't seem to bother him at all; it actually enhanced his life."

And inspires patients to restart their lives, limbs and hearts.

For more info:

Florida Hospital Medical Center
(986) 671-5092


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