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Dogs that “shortened hours” in the units of children’s oncology

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Madrid Updated:15/02/2020 02:33hrs

In the third and fourth floor of the Hospital Gregorio Marañón of Madrid there are two rooms in which the hours are flying by. Tuesday at five in the afternoon, loved furry four-legged, baptized as “blue dogs”, making company to children and adolescents with cancer admitted at the centre and it is then when you “forget everything, disconnect… Is a time that runs as if it were five minutes,” he explains to ABC Lorena Díez, director of hospitals of the Foundation Aladina.

For an hour a week, the little ones enjoy a therapy dogs provided that their state of health permits. The initiative was launched in 2017 at the hospital in madrid and was born from the cooperation of the Association Blue Dogs, and the Fundación Aladina to help the patients admitted, that this Saturday, celebrate the International Childhood Cancer Day.

“The dogs have the ability to create that bond of union with the patient without saying anything, without words, and therapeutically it is wonderful,” says Díez. Marina Garcia, a pediatrician in the section of Hematology and Oncology, children’s hospital, says that “the positive attitude helps the child to face the entrance” and “it facilitates the work of practitioners”.

In addition, the therapy is a way to connect children with the outside world. “The majority has periods of hospitalization very long, we’re working with children who have two or three months without going out to the street and suddenly be able to have contact with a dog, it is a way to retake that link with the outside world,” says Luz Jaramillo, coordinator of programs of the Blue Dogs. During the sessions, children learn to care for and respect the animals, the comb, feed them and, to the teens, it allows them to even pasearlos in the halls of the hospital and teach them tricks.

Antonella, a nine year old girl with leukemia, has now been five months without being able to leave the hospital in madrid and he’s still got at least two, in addition to a bone marrow transplant, to be able to return home. When he sees Maya, one of the bitches of the therapy, your smile is sensed by the second under his mask. The link between both is such that even identifies with her: “she Is like me, likes to eat a lot.”

“This is a disease very emotive, there are quimios they are put in a bad mood and when you have contact with dogs, gets more relaxed in the room, laughs more and is all the time in the room talking of what he has done with Maya,” explains Kisi Ladino, his mother. Therapy marks a before and an after in your stay in the hospital. “To be here day and night is not easy , neither for her nor for us, his family, but Tuesday from the noto more expressive, is more active… it counteracts the effect of the chemo that causes it to lose strength and is a little depressed,” he says.

Beat the lock

Patients are not the only ones favoring the therapy. “We consider the families as secondary beneficiaries because, although not working directly with them, are the ones that collect a little of the mood that the child is showing in the session,” says Jaramillo. In this sense, the oncology adds, “the parents, seeing their children calmer, have a positive attitude with the hospital and with the treatment.”

It is an initiative “very important” for the children, but especially for teens because it helps them to overcome the blockage and the anger that sometimes are submerged when you start the treatment”, in the opinion of the responsible Blue Dogs. The coordinator can not help but recall the testimony of the family of a teenager who said in one of the first therapies that in 20 days that were in the hospital, it was the first time I saw him smile for real.

Now, thanks to the great results of the initiative, in just two weeks, the Fundación Aladina and the Association Blue Dogs will implement the measure in the Virgen del Rocío Hospital of Seville. And both organizations are trying to extend this initiative to other hospitals, despite the fact that it is difficult to get to introduce dogs in a hospital. “Being the unit of oncology of the early cost because they are children who are very low defenses and can’t even be with their pets”, indicates Díez.

The director of hospitals of the Foundation Aladina details that the most difficult task is to explain to children why they cannot be with their animals, but with the “blue dogs”. According to the expert, “the foundation they have all kinds of shots with which none of our domestic dogs account and in addition are specialized to be in a unit oncology”.

Translated from ABC News https://www.abc.es/sociedad/abci-perros-acortan-horas-unidades-oncologia-infantil-202002150233_noticia.html

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