Better to let sleeping nursing-home dogs lie

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Say it's not true! Could it really be that dogs, those loving, joyful, drooling creatures, actually can transfer illnesses such as MRSA and C.difficile to residents in nursing homes?

Pardon my intellectual narrow-mindedness, but do studies have to ruin everything? Please, anyone but the canines! Research—thanks to the mostly positive advances of modern science—has already told us we shouldn’t smoke, only drink alcohol modestly and avoid sweets. Now we have to be careful about our dog contact?

OK, I’ll give you that the findings are important. (To see the story, click here.) Nursing homes should know that canines can spread germs on their paws and fur and should therefore make sure to take the proper precautions. (I can just picture a dog offering his paw for a drop of hand sanitizer.)

But poor creatures. Now they are the target of all our, well, knowledge. And if you think about it, isn’t it a little obvious that this discovery would eventually surface? I mean, dogs dirty? What a crazy idea.

Regardless, let’s not let such scientific discoveries discourage nursing homes from adopting therapy pets. I think most would agree that the benefits of having these affectionate creatures around definitely outweigh the possible risks. If you’re not convinced, just read our latest Guest Column, (Click here to read it.) We all know that pets, like music, make people feel better in ways that drugs and other traditional treatments can’t.

So here’s to Daisy, Bo (the famous First Pooch) and all the other slobbery, hairy, smelly pups that give us tons of  unconditional love. I don’t know about science, but you have my support.
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Daily Editors' Notes

McKnight's Daily Editors' Notes features commentary on the latest in long-term care news and issues. Entries are written by Editorial Director John O'Connor, Editor James M. Berklan, Senior Editor Elizabeth Newman and Staff Writer Emily Mongan.

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