New research is taking pet therapy to a whole new level.
You've heard that pets in the hospital can lift the spirit of patients there. But now, there is new evidence that trained dogs can actually help stroke patients walk again.
That's the word from the Rehab Institute of Chicago, where many stroke patients, Bob Luciano, work with a therapist 4 days a week. Then, on the fifth day, they work with a trained dog, either by giving verbal commands to improve speech or walking with the dog to improve mobility.
"We measured distance and time to find out if patients would walk farther and farther with an animal versus with me, a therapist," Brienne Costa, a Chicago rehab study researcher said.
Costa says so far, the results have been amazing. She explains in this month's American Journal of Recreation Therapy that patients walk up to 33 percent farther and 35 percent faster with pets,than with their human therapists.