The volunteer program at Saint Francis Hospital-Memphis has added 11 new volunteers, including one four-legged fur baby named Lily, and her handler, Richard Herbert.
According to the Saint Francis volunteers, Lily, "a Coton du Leon breed, brings joy and smiles to the faces of the patients with whom she visits." According to the volunteers, the interaction with a gentle, friendly pet has significant benefits. For physical health, pet therapy helps in a number of ways, including:
- Lowers blood pressure.
- Improves cardiovascular health.
- Releases endorphins (oxytocin) that have a calming effect.
- Diminishes overall physical pain.
- The act of petting produces an automatic relaxation response, reducing the amount of medication some folks need.