Therapy dogs work in one of the hospitals in Barcelona (5 photos)

Category: Animals, Health, PEGI 0+
24 April 2024

Joel Bueno cried tears of joy as his furry guests entered the intensive care unit where he was admitted due to a blood clot. Dogs Vida and Lou reminded him of his own pet at home.

"It's great to have someone who loves you more than anything in the world," the 34-year-old Spaniard told Reuters.

The visit was part of an experiment launched by Hospital del Mar in Barcelona and the Affinity Foundation, which specializes in pet-assisted therapy. The goal is to improve the emotional state of patients.

Joel Bueno pets dogs in the intensive care unit of Hospital del Mar, Barcelona, Spain, April 18, 2024

Therapy dogs visit patients twice a week and spend 15-20 minutes together.

“We can only speculate for now, but it seems to us that there is a benefit,” says Lucia Picaso, an intensive care unit doctor.

Patients' saliva samples will be analyzed before and after a canistherapy session to check whether indicators of stress such as cortisol are reduced and whether indicators of well-being such as oxytocin and serotonin are increased.

Maribel Vida with her four-legged helpers

According to Maribel Vida, who heads Affinity's projects, it's not just patients who benefit: many healthcare workers love dogs and enjoy spending time in their company.

Bueno has no doubts about the benefits of the project: “Just the news of the dogs’ imminent visit immediately boosts morale.”

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