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Therapy Dogs Can Help Alzheimer’s Patients


(Nutley, NJ)—A study published in the Western Journal of Nursing Research shows that the presence of a dog can help reduce agitation in Alzheimer’s patients.

The findings indicate that dogs can ease and comfort Alzheimer’s patients through companionship—a treatment known as dog therapy.

Once considered only family friends, dogs have moved into many fields, from search and rescue to bomb detection to tracking the lost to drug interdiction. Now, new discoveries add to their vocational talents: they can have therapeutic influences on people’s lives, especially people suffering from mental diseases.

“As an owner of a therapy dog, I know that dogs are more than just pets,” says Joe Dwyer, dog trainer, owner of four dogs and author of the new book Shelby’s Grace. “Trained dogs can help people in crisis or who suffer from illnesses. Therapy dogs visit hospital patients, the elderly, the lonely and the bereaved to provide emotional support at times when it is needed most.”

In his book, Mr. Dwyer describes his remarkable odyssey with an abused pit bull, Shelby, who he saved from a shelter. In return, she saved him from a terrible depression, and together they recovered their senses of purpose. Now Shelby is a certified therapy dog who helps people in difficult times.

Alzheimer’s patients need special care and attention. Many experts say that therapy dogs can give comfort to patients with Alzheimer’s disease because they can help the patients to:
* Decrease stress and depression
* Become calmer and more relaxed
* Improve their moods
* Increase physical and social activity
* Boost mental stimulation

“In my personal experiences with Shelby, I see how therapy dogs can bring joy to patients at hospitals and nursing homes,” says Mr. Dwyer. “They are very sensitive to human emotions and moods, and, more importantly, they have a therapeutic effect on those in need of comforting. Shelby, like many other therapy dogs, is a truly angel"

Joe Dwyer is a motivational speaker, a life coach and a member of the National Speakers Association. He is also a dog trainer and a martial artist. Previously, he worked as a chemical engineer and an executive for Verizon and the Archdiocese of Newark. Joe is a man of faith and spirituality, and he supports rescue groups and therapy dog training. He lives in Nutley, New Jersey, with his family and four dogs.


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 pit bull

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