Hospital Program Allows Patients To Receive Visits From Their Pets

The program, which grants intensive care patients precious pet time, is believed to be the first of its kind in Canada.

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Shirley, a patient at the hospital, is visited by her dog, McCoy. Via Zachary's Paws for Healing/Facebook

If you or a loved one has to stay in the hospital for any length of time, there are only so many things you can do to make the room you were assigned feel more comfortable. You can cover the eternally scratchy sheets with your own blankets or try to hide some of the monitors behind a framed picture or two but, for a lot of us, it can’t ever feel like home without our pets. That’s why a new program at Juravinski Hospital in Hamilton, Ontario, is so special.

The small Canadian hospital will let patients in intensive care have one-hour visits with their own pets, a 60-minute session that has the kind of healing powers that don’t come from a prescription bottle, CTV News reports.

The program, called Zachary’s Paws for Healing, was established by the family of Zachary Noble, a 25-year-old who died last fall from Hodgkin’s lymphoma. According to CTV News, his wish was for other hospital patients to be able to see their own pets while they received treatment.

The program was founded in memory of 25-year-old Zachary Noble. Via Zachary's Paws for Healing/Facebook

The program was founded in memory of 25-year-old Zachary Noble. Via Zachary’s Paws for Healing/Facebook

“Before he died, he made me promise that we would have an organization available that if any patient at Juravinski wanted to see their pet, they had that opportunity,” Noble’s aunt, Donna Jenkins, told CTV News.

So far, the hospital has allowed 25 pet visits under the program, which runs on volunteers and donations.

“I think it’s good medicine for people to have their animals come and visit them,” Deb Buchowsky, a leukemia patient at the hospital said, after a visit from her dog.

What a beautiful, loving legacy to leave behind, Zachary.

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