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Pets Lift Spirits of Hospital Patients in Redding

A group of volunteers and their furry friends are bringing a little joy to patients at Mercy Medical Center.

Posted: Oct. 11, 2018 6:29 PM
Updated: Oct. 12, 2018 9:26 AM

REDDING, Calif. - For most people, hospitals aren’t fun. But a group of volunteers and their furry friends in Redding are hoping to change that.

The volunteers are part of an organization called Prescription Pets and Thursday, they helped put smiles on the faces of about 25 patients at Mercy Medical Center.

For Pearl Farnsworth, the worst part about being in the hospital is being away from her three dogs.

“My Chiweenie is Misty, my Chihuahua is called Buddy, and my Maltese is called Sammy,” Farnsworth said.

She's been recovering from leg surgery for seven days now.

So, when she got a visit from some four-legged friends, she nearly jumped out of bed with excitement.

“It was fun,” Farnsworth said. “It was great. So I wanted to get out of bed and get on the floor with them, but they wouldn't let me.”

The pups and their owners are volunteers for an organization called Prescription Pets that goes around to hospitals and other locations trying to bring a little joy into people's lives.

“It's just really uplifting for us to see people smile,” volunteer Pam Ward said. “Sometimes patients will start crying because they're so excited to see as pet because their pets aren't here.”

But it's not just that, Ward says the pets can actually have a healing effect on the people they visit.

“Someone that's really down, you can bring a dog in there and it just wakes them up,” she said. “They've had stroke victims that will start petting the dog where they haven't been moving before. So they really are healing. I mean they're just comforting. And they look at you, they love you. It's unconditional. It's been tested, it works. And we see it all the time wherever we go.”

And Farnsworth agrees saying she thinks every hospital should have therapy dogs on staff 24/7.

“Anytime of the day, they should have dogs in here,” Farnsworth said. “That's my opinion, and it's great 'cause it lifts you up especially when you got three dogs you can't see.”

Ward said Prescription Pets is always looking for new volunteers.

You can click here to find out how to get involved.

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