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Pet therapy helps local patients

A local program is bringing happiness to recovering patients with the help of some animals. Eastern Idaho Regional Medical Center said interacting with animals is exactly what patients need to help them get through the day. It is one of many reasons the hospital started the program.

EIRMAC’s pet partner program brings cats and dogs directly to in-patients at the hospital. Maisie Pope has been hospitalized for peritonitis and said she loves the program. Peritonitis is a condition where the tissue covering the inside of an abdomen is inflamed.

“When I lost my husband I got really down and depressed and I had a little animal come and see me and her name was Millie. She brightened my day, she really did.
They don’t get to spend a lot of time with you but you look forward to the next time they’re going to come,” Pope said.

One volunteer said the moment patients pet a dog or cat she can tell how much it helps them.

“You’ll see a patient and they’re sick and they’re not feeling good and either Millie or Yuki will come walking in and their eyes light up,” said Faye Alexander.

Alexander and her cat Yuki must go through training before meeting patients. She said it takes a long time and can be physically demanding, but the hard work is worth it in the end.

“They can love an animal unconditionally and an animal’s love is absolutely unconditional,” said Pope.

Volunteers work with the non-profit organization Intermountain Therapy Animals.
If you would like to volunteer click here,

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