Giselle and Nirvana with representatives from the hospital and associations involved in the programme SUR
Axarquia hospital resumes canine therapy sessions to help young patients

Axarquia hospital resumes canine therapy sessions to help young patients

The initiative is a collaborative project run by the Perruneando association, Malaga diabetic association and medical professionals

Eugenio Cabezas


Wednesday, 17 January 2024, 17:39


Dogs and humans have lived together for more than 11,000 years and as the saying goes, they are a man’s (or woman’s) best friend. However, they can also be trained to provide therapy to people who are hospitalised and the Cormarcal de la Axarquía hospital in Torre del Mar on the eastern stretch of the Costa del Sol has recently launched its fifth dog assisted intervention programme (IAP) Huellas en el Corazón (pawprints in the heart), with the help of the Perruneando association, Malaga diabetic association (Adima) and medical professionals at the hospital.

The programme was launched on Tuesday 16 January in the hospital’s paediatric and neonatal unit, where it will run until June. Along with representatives from Perruneando, Adima and the hospital, Giselle, a cinnamon-coloured golden retriever and Nirvana, a black labrador retriever, were also in attendance and they will be spending two hours with the children in the unit every Monday.

This programme, which was first implemented by the hospital in 2020, covers a wide range of work carried out by the paediatric department, including hospital stays, consultations and paediatric diabetes programmes. The aim, in all cases, is to help both children and professionals through the canine intervention unit.

Help for patients and professionals

During the launch, Carlos Bautista, head of the Andalusian regional government’s health team in Malaga, thanked all those involved in the programme and stressed the importance of promoting such strategies in hospitals. "We want to improve the environment so that patients feel listened to, feel that they receive unique care and do not just feel like numbers, because this is just as important as receiving the correct medical intervention.”

He also highlighted that the canine therapy is available for both patients and professionals, “who deserve to carry out their work in the best conditions, in a comfortable environment and knowing that they have the necessary support and respect".

José Manuel Ramón, director of the hospital’s paediatric unit pointed out how helpful it is to have Giselle and Nirvana at the hospital and said they “will make the children more relaxed during different processes that usually upset them such as insulin injections and this will help both the patients and the professionals”.

At the end of the event, professionals from the centre observed a minute's silence at the door of the hospital's accident and emergency department to condemn the recent gender violence murder in Torre del Mar.

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