Therapy dogs calming influence for cancer patients

Cleopatra, a black and white Cavalier King Charles Spaniel with placid brown eyes, settled into the man’s lap. Joe Brunk ran his hand over the dog’s head. The motion was gentle, relaxed and calm. After going through a radiation session to treat his brain cancer earlier that morning, the simple act of petting a dog was cathartic. “I feel calmer. I do think there is a soothing aspect to it,” he said. Story continues below gallery Click here to purchase photos from this gallery Brunk is one of four patients who have signed up for an experimental study at IU Health Neuroscience Center testing whether therapy dogs can improve the quality of life of brain cancer patients. Participants spend about 10 minutes with Cleopatra in a quiet, darkened room, while…

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