As an animal lover, you already know the healing power of having your animal companion near you when you are not feeling well. There is a growing awareness among the medical community that the presence of animal companions assists people in accelerating their healing process. Some hospitals and convalescent homes allow service dogs to visit people during their stay and while this can be very comforting for folks, in addition to uplifting spirits, a visit from one’s own animal companion can be even more healing.
The following article offers some interesting information. http://newoldage.blogs.nytimes.com/2013/04/10/when-best-friends-can-visit/?src=recg
Here are some additional tips:
(1) Inquire. Find out if a hospital has a policy about animal companion visitations.
(2) Be persistent. Don’t assume a “No” is the final answer. Speak with the doctor in charge, the hospital administrator, or other persons charged with decision making authority.
(3) Be informed. If the hospital you are dealing with is resistant to the idea, cite other hospitals that have an animal visitation policy in place (see the article referenced above). Be informed about such policies so that you can clearly and convincingly articulate a positive position on the issue. Hospital personnel may be focused on issues such as liability. Be educated on the issue so that you can respond and address their concerns and demonstrate why the benefits outweigh any potential concerns.
(4) Enlist Support. Contact local animal welfare organizations, your vet, or individuals who are actively involved with therapy dogs and ask for their assistance and support. The old adage that it is not what you know but who you know may prove to be very helpful in this situation.
(3) Be an advocate. You can make a difference. Passion and enthusiasm can go a long way in changing the status quo on any issue. Maintain an enthusiastic, respectful and persistent position. Your efforts may make a world of difference in many people’s lives.