Human-Animal Connections:

Animals make our lives better in many ways. For example, we know that just petting a dog or cat or watching fish in an aquarium can reduce our stress levels. Some therapy animals help ease the pain of PTSD or hospital stays, while others provide assistance for children with allergies or autism. Service animals make everyday living easier for people with physical challenges. Learn more about how the lives…and health…of animals and humans are interconnected.

Dog declared cured and cancer-free after receiving treatment that could benefit humans

Rilley, a dog who is now cured and cancer-free, benefited from research at the Olhfest Brain Tumor Lab at the University of Minnesota — and someday, so could humans, too. The experimental treatment Rilley received is now being tested on people with brain tumors. It’s a great story about a family’s love for their dog and some exciting advances in cancer research.

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Dogs provide support to cancer patients

When someone is diagnosed with cancer, their families provide support — and often, that family also includes a four-legged member. Cancer patients say that their pets provide love and companionship and decrease stress levels. Their dogs’ support helps them get out of bed every day, even when they feel like they physically can’t do so.

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Alert dogs help people with Type 1 diabetes

More people with Type 1 diabetes are using service dogs that alert them and their families when blood-sugar levels are dangerously low. These dogs are “lifesavers,” says Dr. Dana Hardin, a pediatric endocrinologist who presented research on the topic of hypoglycemic alert dogs at this year’s American Diabetes Association conference.

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New book explores the “cultural history” of rabies

Still looking for a good summer read? Instead of a breezy piece of romantic escapism, how about a zoonotic tale of the “world’s most diabolical virus?”

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Seniors in nursing homes benefit from therapy pets

We’ve known for a long time about the benefits of pet therapy — we see a lot of stories about animals helping service members with post-traumatic stress disorder and children with autism, or just the calming effects pets can have on people in general. Senior citizens also can benefit from having regular interactions with pets. More nursing homes around the country are opening their doors to allow animals to visit, and residents report that the dogs and cats (and sometimes horses, too!) offer comfort while alleviating feelings of loneliness and helping with medical conditions.

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