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Excellent article. Animals often do have a therapeutic benefit. I recall one time, while visiting a VA rehab center on a ‘probationary visit’ (the resident psychologist was not quite sold on the potential therapeutic benefits) a family member saw myself and my pet partner dog in the hallway and came up to ask for a visit. They led us (Dog, Doc, and me) into the room where a patient, closed head trauma injury (returned from Iraq) barely responsive was in bed. The family was around and they said that he had a dog when he was young that he really loved…my dog went up and started sniffing his hand, and then I heard a gasp, the patient was trying to pet my dog. That was the first real voluntary movement the family had seen in weeks. He even tried to mumble something. The doc was impressed and we wound up visiting for several more weeks until the patient was moved to facilities closer to his home (and because he was recovering so much).

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