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A therapy dog for kids with ADHD

A number of studies have shown that dogs trained to be therapy companions can reduce the symptoms of attention-deficit/hyperactivity disorder (ADHD) in children.

Animal assisted intervention (AAI) has been  found to reduce stress, improve cognitive function, reduce problem behaviors and improve attention, says Rick Nauert (PhD), associate news editor of PsychCentral, in “Therapy Dogs Can Help Ease Symptoms of ADHD in Kids.

To help his son Mihail, 11, who was diagnosed with ADHD, my brother Kai decided to adopt a dog from the pound to be Mikhail’s emotional companion as the doctor recommended, and not buy a dog.

Mikhail with therapy dog Rex, a half-blind dog from the pound that his family adopted.
Thus, his family did not only got help for his son, but they were also able help a rescued or abandoned dog.

Here is their story as told by Kai:

My son, Mikhail, age 11, was diagnosed with ADHD. His doctor said it would be better for him to have a dog as an emotional animal. We went through the pictures on the internet and instantly among thousands of choices in the pound, he chose Rex.

He was so excited to go and get him. We went to the pound and there he was.

While people say, we rescue animals, Rex kind of rescued us. He was such a delightful, very sweet and loving. My son instantly bonded with him and Rex would sleep beside him all the time.

Anytime someone approaches Mikhail, even me, Rex would always guard him and protect him.

Mikhail adopted Bear, a dog rescued by a teenager while scavenging for food in trash bins. He and his father Kai decided to adopt him when they saw him shivering inside his cage in the pound. 
Rex by the way, is half blind, hence not a lot of people wanted to adopt a half-blind dog.

A year after we adopted him, we decided to take him to the park close by. We took the leash out and playful as he was, he bolted across the street and into the freeway. We looked for him for hours and posted lost dog signs on the internet.

Three days later, a lady called and said they found Rex. We were ecstatic. We rushed to meet her in the park only to have our heart stop when we saw his bloodied body wrapped in a blanket as the lady and the police officer approached us.

My wife and I cried. We were just glad Mikhail was not with us at that time.

After Mikhail’s school, we decided to break the bad news to him. He did not take it well of course and cried non- stop.

Therapy dog Rex with his human family: Dad Kai, Mom Melanie and brother Mikhail.
A week later, I asked him if he wanted to go to the pound again. He said he wanted to mourn Rex first before getting another dog. I was so proud of his maturity.

A month later, we got Bear from the pound. After we saw him shivering in his cage, we both knew he needed our care so we chose him.

Bear is a five-year-old half chihuahua and half pug. He was seen by a teenager rummaging around the trash bins and was immediately brought to the pound. 

He gets overly-excited when I get back from work. He likes being cuddled all the time. He is such a sweet puppy who brings so much joy and love into our lives.  We are glad we adopted this stray dog who eventually became a therapy dog for my son.

Topics: attention-deficit/hyperactivity disorder , ADHD , therapy dogs , Animal assisted intervention
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