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Dogs in pensioners’ homes and hospitals in Madrid to help in therapies

Cristina Cifuentes underlined the therapeutic capacity of these animals, ‘company, affection and general support to overcome difficulties by generating a strong bond of interaction between patients and dogs’

The Madrid Community is to introduce dogs in some pensioner’s homes, hospitals and educational centres to make the most of the therapeutic capacity of these animals, who offer assistance support and affection to the ill, elderly or children with learning difficulties.

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Photo – www.giveadogabone.net

The president of the Madrid Community, Cristina Cifuentes, has visited the Pensioners Residence Vista Alegre, where she presented this ‘Service of canine intervention’ – an initiative of the regional government for dogs to help people without substituting treatments or conventional therapies which they currently receive.

A ‘pioneering’ initiative, said Cifuentes, and although in an experimental stage pretended over forthcoming months to widen and extend the exercise, ‘We want to advance in two senses, improving public services and animal protection’ said Cifuentes who noted other regional initiatives from her Government, such as the Law for Zero Sacrifice or the bylaw which allows dogs to travel on the metro.

In the ‘pilot’ program for this year, dogs will be used in three pensioners’ centres, to help in the avoidance of cogitative and physical deterioration of the residents. Then gradually extended to hospitals and colleges and finally to concentrate on those children with special needs such as Attention Deficiency Disorder.

Dogs are already being used in cases of children who are immersed in judicial procedures, with their calming effects favouring more fluid and detailed testimonies. One of the most important possibilities is for the dog and owner to be reunited in residencies or in long stay care.

To develop this program, the regional Government will count with the collaboration of the King Juan Carlos University, a body with wide experience in this sector and in coordination with the Veterinary College. ‘Between all we are going to demonstrate that dogs, are not only animals for company, but also can develop a very important role in the ambit of health, education and social services’ affirmed Cifuentes.