|Published in the December 2014 Issue of Pet Partners eNewsletter
TANA BENNETT AND KIA – CALIFORNIA “Home for the holidays.” A lovely sentiment, but unfortunately not possible for many seriously ill people. Pet Partners therapy dog Kia, a 9 year-old Minature Schnauzer, and her handler Tana Bennett (also a licensed instructor and evaluator) helped one child achieve this goal — supporting research findings that animal-assisted interactions can be very therapeutic. Anthony’s story is best told through this letter from his mother: Dear Pet Partners, Thank you for this opportunity to share with you the joy your service has provided. My 11 year-old son Anthony was diagnosed with stage 4 liver cancer with metastasis to his right shoulder August 22, 2014. This diagnosis is among the most devastating as it falls into the 20% of childhood cancers that cannot be cured. We spent the next three months in San Francisco undergoing radiation and chemotherapy treatments for Anthony. The decision to come home in hopes of managing Anthony’s pain was difficult and scary. Having the Pet Partners team arrive to meet us within the week of getting home was awesome. The tumors in Anthony’s shoulder and abdomen cause hugs to be painful rather than a loving experience. However, when Kia came to visit, Anthony was able to pet her, cuddle and show affection without any pain. Anthony also did not use his pain pump during his visit with the dog. Anthony’s interaction with Kia provided much comfort to me as well watching my son experience this pain-free time. Kori (Anthony’s Mom) The photo above was taken just last week; Anthony is home and looking forward to the holidays. We very much appreciate the incredible work of Kia and Tana, as we do all of our wonderful therapy animal teams.