Dog Visits Owner in Hospital

There is an unbreakable bond between a pet and its beloved owner: what can seem like the end of the world for an animal companion is being separated from their master, confused as to where they may be. This was the case of Artù (Arthur), an abandoned dog adopted eight years ago by his owner. But finally, Arthur was able to be reunited with his hospitalized master, and shared an embrace that softened the hearts everyone inside that Santa Maria Nuova Hospital room.

Arthur’s reunion is one of the many that have occurred through a Florence program designed for visiting pets. In 2014, this project was initiated to provide an additional layer of humanistic care for the sick in local hospitals. These individuals are not well enough to leave the hospital, so both them and their companions suffer from the separation. This program was tested first at Santa Maria Nuova, and has expanded to hospitals near the center of Usl Toscana.

During illness, time spent with a pet can help the patient feel the relief of joy, but precautions must be taken. The director of nursing care, and referent of the companionship project, Dr. Cristina Rossi, explains that there are procedures that need to be done inside the hospital to ensure the safety of its patients. But despite time-consuming preparations, it is worth that one moment when two beings who unconditionally love each other are reunited at last.

To read more in Italian, and to see another picture, visit Florence’s La Repubblica news site.  (jennifer klammer)