L17 — April 2011 — PALS (Pets Are Loving Support)
Intro: Going through treatment for cancer can be a very difficult time for patients and their families. People who have radiation therapy often have to go in every day, for weeks on end. And some say sitting in the waiting room before a treatment can be stressful. That's where PALS can help. That's short for Pets Are Loving Support. It's a program that brings trained-animal-assisted activities and therapy dogs into the radiation oncology waiting room at Mayo Clinic to help patients and their families get their minds off treatment — at least for a while.
Meet Murphy. (sound) This pup may be a little guy, but he makes a huge difference in the lives of patients going through radiation treatment for cancer.
A buddy, a friend. When days are bad, they're good.
Jim Anderson's having radiation therapy to treat prostate cancer.
I've got 43 treatments total.
He says hanging out with Murphy while he waits helps him feel less stressed.
It's actually been researched to show that it helps decrease stress levels and blood pressure.
Kellye Alexander is Murphy's owner. The two of them had to go through a lot of training to become certified pet partners. About a year and a half of classes and tests. But Kellye says all that prep was well worth it.
I think it's important for the patients and their families, but it's also very important to me. I experienced something like they were going through when I was 18 and then when I was 21.
Kellye is a thyroid cancer survivor who endured radiation treatment.
It would have made all the difference in the world to spend time with an animal.
Phil Whitton, the manager of radiation oncology agrees.
When Murphy walks in the room all the patients just, they all smile, and it's really such a nice diversion for them because they have so much on their minds.
Murphy. The pup who helps make the journey a little easier for people like Jim.
For Medical Edge, I'm Vivien Williams.
Murphy visits the radiation oncology waiting area. Patients say he's a bright spot in the midst of what are sometimes difficult days.
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