Local News

Wilson Dog Helps Heal Cancer Patients During Doctor Visits

Posted December 8, 1999

— Battling cancer can be emotionally and physically draining -- the chemotherapy; the constant trips to the doctor's office; the long, slow recovery process. Patients in Wilson have help in the battle: a four-legged treatment that brings smiles to their faces.

"Cancer is a very scary thing," says Glenda Patterson, who is fighting for her life.

"Knowing that you have it, and you have to be treated for it, really is hard to deal with. And just having any little thing that makes it easier for you makes things go a lot smoother," Patterson says.

The "little thing" that makes things easier for Patterson is Isaac Newton. He is 26 pounds of canine inspiration for chemotherapy patients at Dr. Dudley Anderson's office.

Anderson brought Newton to the office six years ago for a temporary stay, then realized that Newton could calm patients like no human could.

"We tend to say 'Pity us' when we get sick, and Newton immediately will encourage people to think of Newton and all the good things of this world, rather than their own illness, which can be so threatening to them," Anderson says.

"I can come in, and he'll greet me at the door. He'll bark. He'll play with me, and you kind of forget about all the medicine that's going into your body," patient Linda Hawley says.

Patterson appreciates the effect Newton's healing powers have on others as well.

"He makes people smile that haven't smiled for a long time. When you're really sick and you can smile or laugh at Newton, the pain goes away," Patterson believes.

And for most of us, that is the most important thing any doctor's visit can do.


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