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Whose best friend?

I think Cosmo knows what I mean. The hospice patient communicated easily in three languages just a few years ago. Now, she was searching for a word and could not find it. A metropolitan woman from New York City who had worked in a prestigious bookstore now was in the mid-stages of Alzeimers. Cosmo is a star in the world of pet therapy. Cosmo looked into her eyes with nothing but understanding as he sat in her bay window. Stroking his head brought a feeling of comfort and safety that eased stress and frustration. The Social Worker and Nurse tried their best to address another patients fears, mistrust and suspicions. Time after time she would refuse to answer or acknowledge them. Joan, our Social Work, brought Cosmo to the nursing home to visit. Words and feelings came easily when Cosmo and the patient would interact. Trust was then transferred from pet therapy to therapist. One day the patient stopped responding to Cosmo. Joan knew it wouldn't be long and indeed the patient died about a week after. Pet Therapy has been proven to lower blood pressure, increase verbal interaction, reduce anxiety and loneliness and improve life for us of the two legged variety. A study was done of patients ready to undergo oral surgery. Those who spent a few minutes watching fish in an aquarium realized lower blood pressure, less muscle tension and were more relaxed than those who did not watch the fish. The fish watchers were as calm as a group that had been hypnotized prior to surgery. That is why High Peaks Hospice & Palliative Care utilizes the services of three pets and their owners in the Tri-Lakes, Cosmo and another pet in Essex County and one more in Warren County. Nancy Jackson, a Hospice Manager explains Animals have a huge capacity to share love, caring and patience which can be very significant for a dying person. As a persons illness progresses and their contact with the outside world diminishes, the presence of an animal provides a very easy, non-demanding level of touch and companionship. Referrals for hospice care are given by physicians, nurses, friends, neighbors, the patient or family members. Call 1-877-324-1686 to learn more about High Peaks Hospice or visit our web site at www.highpeakshospice.com .

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