Therapeutic affects of man’s best friend


OreoThis is Oreo. He’s a cute mutt that came to us years ago when the dog of one of my wife’s coworkers had a litter and they needed homes for the lot. We took in Oreo (over my objections) and he’s been with us ever since.

You always hear about the positive affects pets have for their owners and I thought I’d add proof to that. I recently told the account of my experience with open heart surgery and Oreo played a big role in my recovery at home.When I first returned home from the hospital I was in pretty bad shape. I was very weak and felt like I’d been hit by a Mack truck, and I spent a lot of time over the next few weeks sitting in a leather club chair in our living room. This chair was the softest and most comfortable chair for me to sit in for extended periods of time. Besides the pain that any movement brought with it I was extremely cold all the time and couldn’t get warm no matter how I dressed nor how many blankets I piled on.

Oreo is a little dog, a mix between a Shih Tzu and a cockapoo. He’s a lovable little guy who has the run of the place and a personality as big as he is small. I didn’t know it at the time but Oreo had a rough time while I was in the hospital. He ate very little the week I was gone and got physically sick until I returned home. From the moment I walked slowly in the door he wouldn’t leave my side. He stayed with me every minute of the day and seemed like he was actually checking up on me constantly.

Like I said I spent a lot of time in the club chair. I gingerly sat down in it as soon as I got home and immediately Oreo jumped up on the chair, something he had never done before. He climbed up on the back of the chair and wrapped himself around my neck, like a little fur coat. This little dog spent over 12 hours a day keeping me warm and comforting me just when I needed it most.

My wife had to return to work as soon as I got out of the hospital and I was alone but little Oreo kept a wary eye on me. Many times I fell asleep in the chair and awakened when Oreo licked my face, as if to make sure I was just sleeping. When I went into the bathroom he waited outside the door until I came out. When I took a shower (something that was very difficult at first) he stood watch just outside the shower stall, watching intently until I got out.This little furry guy has a heart bigger than he is and I’m very grateful he was there for me. If anybody has any pet stories like Oreo’s I’d like to hear them.



Thanks so much for your story!

I actually adopted my dog, Lexi, from a local animal shelter after my cat, O.J., ran away (I was on vacation for six weeks and I’m sure he went out looking for me that day) and never returned. I remember the day I picked Lexi like it was yesterday – I was 14 years old when I brought her home.

The day my mom and I went to the animal shelter to get a new CAT, I wandered into the puppy room. My eye caught this little puppy shying away from one of the litters, and I pointed to her, exclaiming to my mom that this puppy was “so cute!” Right away my mom said, “No dogs!” Knowing my mom’s heart, however, I asked the caretakers how long this puppy had before she was supposed to be put down (this was NOT a no-kill shelter). The caretaker checked Lexi’s documents and found that she should have been put down a week prior, but had somehow been overlooked. That’s all it took for my mom to be swayed – we both knew that we were her last chance, as the looks we were getting from the staff told us that Lexi was literally a dead dog if we didn’t take her home. To make a long story short, I brought her home that day and now, 11 years later, she is still my baby girl.

The healing power Lexi has had throughout my life still amazes me. She has been with me through four house-moves, three boyfriend break-ups, numerous teenage disagreements with my mom, ended friendships, my wonderful husband (who jokes that he has stuck around because of her!), and many other traumatic situations in my life. She has always been loyal to me and my family. She knows and loves her “Nonnie” (my mom) and also loves my husband dearly. This year, Lexi has even adapted to a new dog in our house that my dad was going to give away to friends after owning him for 11 years, too.

I can only hope she will stay healthy and alive through the birth of our first child, as I want our child to know the love of a wonderful pet! I am a firm believer in animals knowing when they have been rescued from a bad situation…Lexi sure does. I don’t think she’s ever forgotten it, either. She loves me so much and I love her just like a child. With her getting up there in years, I know death is eventually inevitable, but I want to always be sure that she knows that she is loved very, very much. I really can’t imagine my day-to-day life without her – I even miss her when I’m away from the house for more than a day or two!


Judith, your dogs sound like wonderful dogs. How much training does it take to produce a therapy dog and what services can one provide?


I am still looking for your story of your MI, but found this nice one about Oreo instead.
It sounds like you had a very hard time and her loved helped pull you through.
I have 3 dogs – Danke who is a 6 year old German sheperd; Robeson, 2.5years, a certified therapy and service dog who has been working at thecancer center with me for almost 3 years, and Leopold, newest 4 months old, a half basset half ? Long and low. Will train him for therapy work too. If he doesn’t eat my computer!


Excellent story, bk! Glad it had a happy ending, at least for your Mom. My elderly parents had their long time pet pass away 10 years ago and my Dad was so devastated by the loss he has refused to get another dog. I think for them, like your Mom, a good dog would do wonders for them. I’m still working on them about getting one but they might be getting too old to care for one properly. Glad your Mom is happy with Daisy!


Mine is more sad than heartwarming. My wife and I purchased a dog (a mutt but looks like a 40 lb replica of a Japanese Akita). This was our attempt at taking care of a living thing before we had children. :) Of course we spoiled the dog and she was extremely smart. Learned to do tricks and seems to understand english. LOL .. Not long after we got Daisy we had two children 10 months apart (Irish twins) and as to be expected Daisy sort of moved to the bottom of the totem pole. But she always stayed by my side and was extremely gentle with the kids. (I think she knew kids meant….food droppings ) Daisy is the extreme guard dog…when outside — noone is allowed to pass in front of the house without getting a few hundred barks as she tears from side to side of the house saying in her dog language “Keep Moving, Nothing to see here!”. When I went on my business trips (sometimes 4 – 5 days long) she would venture up to the bedroom and sleep at the foot of our bed (which she would NEVER do if I was in the house). We taught her very early that she was NEVER allowed upstairs for fear of waking one of the children up.. And anyone who has twins or children as close in age as mine knows, if you wake one…you’re sure to wake the other and then you are in for a sleepless night.

I loved taking Daisy for walks at 11:00pm every night. It gave me a chance to listen some music, think about the next days events and get some exercise. Daisy is the perfect mix of knowing when to play, play hard and stop when I would get tired.

Now comes the sad part — my son started to develop a hard hacking cough and was constantly getting sick. We kept taking him to the doctors and finally decided to take him to Children’s Hospital where they did a grueling series of allergy tests. Yes, my son is highly allergic to pet dander. The doctor wrote in her evaluation that under no terms should my son be exposed to any fur bearing animals. I joked with my wife, “What are going to do with Patrick, I mean Daisy does what she is told and Patrick does not.” But in my denial of having to part with Daisy I couldn’t accept that Patrick had lived with the dog for the previous 4 years and all of the sudden our beloved Daisy was causing him pain. It took me 3 months to finally accept that I was hurting my son’s health by not believing the doctor’s prognosis.

Here’s the nice part of the story — I then began a two week long process of introducing Daisy to my mother (she knew my mother but this was different). I began taking Daisy on nightly trips down to my mothers house just to say hello as well as letting my mother see how obedient, fun, smart and that this was not really a dog but a highly intelligent companion. My mother lives just 4 blocks from my house! After some negotiating with my mother that this was a temporary situation and that Patrick would grow out of his allergies, my mother accepted Daisy into her home…Just for a short time.

I am happy to say that I see Daisy on a daily basis….but….my 73 year old mother…has totally spoiled Daisy and believes that Daisy is a person. I get phone calls throughout the week of how Daisy does little things to make sure that my Mom is perfectly happy and how my Mother cannot let my/her dog eat silly dogfood because she needs specially cooked meals because her digestive system is happier with her meatloaf rather than Alpo. :)

My mom swore in the beginning that Daisy was a dog and would be treated as such. Today, Daisy has special areas of the house dedicated to her rest, the dinner hour at my mom’s house has changed to accomodate Daisy’s eating habits..You see Daisy would not eat unless every one else was eating…I’ve always taught good manners to all my children…and yes Daisy is my child…and this is her first job out in the world….which she has accepted and is doing wonderfully! Taking care of my mother!

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