About the Book – The Power of Wagging Tails
Everyone with a dog learns to understand the amazing healing power of dogs. You all know how my two terriers are hospital therapy dogs. Through my dogs, I have witnessed the amazing ability of dogs to comfort the sick and give strength to their caregivers. I think all of us lucky enough to be on the end of a therapy dog’s leash have had days where we left visits engulfed in emotion and teary-eyed from the incredible visits we’d been blessed to be part of.
To investigate the science behind therapy dogs, I interviewed therapy dog handlers, trainers, and people visited by therapy dogs. I also found a wealth of sound scientific and medical research evaluating the impact of spending time with a dog. And everyone agrees — therapy dogs have healing powers!
The Power of Wagging Tails: A Doctor’s Guide to Dog Therapy and Healing teaches you the science and research the proves dogs have healing power and showcases poignant stores of seemingly ordinary dogs doing the extraordinary to touch lives in profound ways. 20% of the proceeds from every copy sold is directly donated to Therapy Dogs International to help further the important work of therapy dogs. .
Power of Wagging Tails Table of Contents:
I. Bringing Healing Dogs Into Our Lives
1. Living With Healing Dogs
2. Making Fido a Member of Your Personal Treatment Team and Support Network
3. Getting Involved With Pet Therapy
II. Dogs As Healers
4. Napoleon and Nikita as Nurses: Caring For and Comforting People With Illness
5. Duke and Daisy as Doctors: Sniffing Out Disease
6. Dogs as Therapists
III. A Doctor’s View of Healing Dogs Helping Medical Illness
7. Let Shadow and Sammy Ease an Ailing Psyche
8. Connecting With Bailey Is Heart Healthy
9. I Have Cancer. How Can a Dog Help Me?
10. Pain and Pet Therapy
11. Managing Your Metabolism with Molly: Diabetes and Weight Control
12. Get Off Your Butt! Let Your Dog Show You How
13. Thanks for the Memories: Helping Seniors Connect With Their Past and the Present
14. The Healing Power Witnessed by Dog Handlers
Read an excerpts from Chapter 1:
“For those of us who are lucky enough to be part of a therapy dog–handler team, seeing the joy that blossoms when our dogs meet with patients and the long-lasting comfort patients can get from these brief visits is especially rewarding. Wheatie and I had visited a young woman, Lia, in an intensive care unit weekly over several months. Lia had a Yorkie at home and had told the staff she missed seeing her dog. On most of our visits, Lia was very ill and able to open her eyes for only a few seconds. Despite this, Wheatie stood calmly by her bedside, nuzzling Lia’s hand and letting us rub Lia’s hand over his head and back. One week when we arrived at Lia’s room, she was no longer in her bed, and we feared the worst. A couple months later, Wheatie and I were walking into the hospital elevator when I heard a petite woman calling, “Wheatie!” She said, “You probably don’t remember me, but Wheatie visited me in intensive care and those visits really helped me pull through. You have no idea how much they meant to me.” Lia looked so vibrant and healthy—so different from the young woman in the hospital bed hooked up to a breathing machine and countless intravenous tubes. Seeing her walking out of the hospital truly made our day. Do I think Wheatie’s visit affected Lia’s recovery? Absolutely. And while I know Lia’s own inner strength, her medical team, and the treatments she received should be primarily credited for her return to good health, I am blessed to know that those little visits from a shaggy dog made a positive impact and, in some small way, helped Lia return home to her Yorkie with tales to tell of the healing touch of a little pooch.”
Researchers at Massachusetts General Hospital carefully studied the effects of therapy dog visits to adults in their hospital (Coakley & Mahoney, 2009). Fifty-nine patients were evaluated before and after a therapy dog visit. Each visit lasted ten minutes. Immediately following the dog visit, patients were calmer. They had slower breathing, lower pain scores, and dramatically improved moods. People became less tense, anxious, angry, tired, depressed, and dejected after petting the dog:
• Three percent slower breathing rate
• Twenty-two percent drop in pain severity
• Nineteen percent boost in energy
• Fifty-three percent drop in anxiety
• Forty-eight percent decrease in depression
• Sixty-four percent drop in feelings of anger
• Thirty-nine percent decrease in fatigue