years ago this April, Jill Robinson first walked onto a bear bile farm. On that day in April 1993, Jill could have walked away, but she chose to act and do what she could. Today, you also have a choice. If everyone reading this donated just US$20, it would pay for the care of over 150 bears at our China sanctuary for a full year. Please help us celebrate 20 years of progress. Donate US$20 today (or whatever you can afford).
A pilot study evaluating the effect of Dr. Dog visits on the behaviour of a group of mentally handicapped adults was conducted in 1999 by the University of Hong Kong's Department of Psychology.
Results for the experimental group, which incorporated Dr. Dog visits in their daily activities, showed a marked increase in patient initiative, verbal communication, involvement in activities and behaviour indicating pleasure, as well as increased co-operation with the staff and other patients. Decreases in negative and stereotypical behaviours, such as repeated rocking and temper tantrums were also prevalent in the experimental group, whilst there were no statistically significant changes for the control group.
The pilot study also effectively confirmed the benefits to staff that the Dr. Dogs can bring: staff felt it was often easier to talk with patients during and after the visits and the presence of dogs clearly brightened the atmosphere - helping to make the stressful job of care-giving more pleasant.
"Being in the company of us companion animals, reduces stress levels, cholesterol levels, decreases the risk of heart disease & boosts your immune system." Dr. Eddie, from "Dr. Eddie: Friend....or Food?" video.
One US study showed that elderly people who have pets visit their doctor 16% less than those who do not have pets. Dog owners receive the greatest benefits as on average they visit their doctor 21% less often than non-pet owners do.
Medication costs dropped from an average of US$3.80 per patient per day to just US$1.18 per patient per day in new nursing home facilities in New York, Missouri and Texas that have animals and plants as an integral part of the environment.
A 1990 study conducted by Freidman, Katcher, Lynch, & Thomas on the beneficial effects of pet ownership to heart attack patients proved that pet owners had a lower one year mortality rate than non-pet owners. 92 patients at a coronary care unit were sampled, 53 of which were found to be pet owners. Of this 53, only three died within a year of their admission to hospital, in comparison to 11 deaths out of the 39 non-pet owners.
Research by the Baker Medical Research Institute in Australia has shown that pet owners tend to be more resistant than non-pet owners to the onset and progress of heart disease. In their study of nearly 6000 people at risk for heart disease, results showed that those who owned pets had on average 2% lower blood pressure levels and tended to have lower cholesterol levels as well.
In 2001, Professor Allen of the State University of New York conducted a study of high blood pressure sufferers. Patients exposed to companion animals were found to have lower blood pressure than the control group who took medication alone. Measurement of heart rates also showed a significant difference, with 91 beats per minute for those without pet contact compared to 81 for pet owners.
One US study on cardiovascular stress demonstrated that drugs used to lower blood pressure had no effect on a patient's levels of mental stress. However following the introduction of a friendly dog, cardiovascular reactivity to mental stress was considerably reduced!