A pet is a medication without side effects that has so many benefits. I can’t always explain it myself, but for years now I’ve seen how instances of having a pet is like an effective drug. It really does help people.” – Dr. Edward Creagan, Oncologist at Mayo Clinic, Rochester, MN
We are working with a dog training group called Sit means Sit to provide a new program for persons in the early stage of Alzheimer’s and their care partners.
Many studies have shown that the use of a therapy dog with persons with AD has resulted in increased socialization (Batson, McCabe, Baun, & Wilson, 1998; Churchill, Safaoui, McCabe, & Baun, 1999),
Improved social behaviors (Kongable, Stolley, & Buckwalter, 1990) and decreased agitation (Churchill et al., 1999).
Persons with AD who were residents of a private home had fewer episodes of verbal aggression and anxiety and fewer mood disorders when they had regular contact with a companion animal (Fritz, Farver, Kass, & Hart, 1995).
In this six week program families bring their dogs for obedience training and build on the strengths of the person with the disease. Our aim is to foster a sense of purpose and self-worth. We hope this program can be a bridge to more socialization with others, lowered stress, mental stimulation and a renewed interest in life.