One Thing… to lighten your mood

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From aiding victims of the tornadoes in Moore, Okla., to sitting calmly at the bedside of those battling illness, comfort dogs lend a helping paw to those who need it most.

By Lisa Davis

One thing you can do to ease the depression and anxiety that often comes with a chronic pain condition is work with a comfort dog. These trusted canines are specially trained to provide stress relief and companionship to those going through trauma.

Experts point out that dogs, unlike humans, aren’t put off by sadness or other signs of emotional distress in humans but rather respond to such feelings. And, of course, they don’t judge a person for feeling bad, so comfort dogs offer a connection that those in pain sometimes can’t find in friends or family.

They have also been shown to:

  • Help lower blood pressure
  • Ease sense of isolation
  • Increase feelings of well-being and confidence
  • Boost socialization and interaction with others

To find a furry counselor in your area, search online for comfort dogs in your city or state. (Google “comfort dogs Chicago,” for example.) You can also call Lutheran Church Charities (866-455-6466), which uses dogs to help those in need. The charity sent dogs to help students after the shootings in Newtown, Conn.

Need an instant emotional pick-me-up? Read the touching story about Schepp the beloved arthritic dog cared for by his owner.

Schepp, who provides stress relief and assistance to students with disabilities or to those dealing with debilitating anxiety, may be retiring, but he won’t be forgotten.

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