Norman, a cardiac patient, is waiting for surgery. He is talking to a nurse, Anna.
Norman: I wish my dog were here to keep me company. I really miss him.
Anna: I’m afraid that’s not feasible under hospital regulations. But if you like, I can arrange a visit from a canine volunteer.
Norman: A dog in the hospital? Is that sanitary?
Anna: We take precautions to keep them hygienic. We have Sandy, a Yorkshire Terrier, and a German Shepherd named Sam.
Norman: Well, I’ll be! That’s very unconventional. Unheard of for all I know.
Anna: Animal-assisted therapy is a new idea. The concept developed from animal-assisted recreational activities of the nineteen-eighties.
Norman: I guess medical professionals realized that many animals have a positive effect on humans---especially dogs. I’ll bet they’re a big hit in the pediatric ward.
Anna: They’re very popular among the psychiatric and cardiac patients as well.
Norman: That makes perfect sense. It seems obvious, but I suppose low-tech solutions always have a difficult time gaining credence in the medical community.
Anna: Well, the therapeutic results of animal assistance are bringing them around fast. They’re really sitting up and taking notice.
Norman: Maybe they should send dogs to medical school.
Anna: They could certainly teach some doctors a thing or two about sympathy.
---by Randy Peters