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Where Medicine Fails, Man’s Best Friend Can Heal

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Where Medicine Fails, Man’s Best Friend Can Heal

By Anne-Marie Botek, AgingCare.com Editor

Rick Phelps was diagnosed with early-onset Alzheimer’s disease over two years ago, at the age of 57. About eight months ago, an unexpected caregiver came into his life that changed his world completely.

“Sam’s done more for me than any medication could ever do,” says Rick Phelps, who was diagnosed with early-onset Alzheimer’s disease over two years ago, at the age of 57. “He’s taken me from a twelve [out of ten] on the anxiety and stress scale, down to a two or three.”

No, Phelps isn’t referring to some world-renowned dementia specialist—in fact, the creature he’s describing doesn’t even walk on two legs.

He’s talking about Sam, a spry one-year-old German Shepard who is part of a new breed of service dog trained to help people suffering from mild to mid-stage Alzheimer’s disease.

Prior to his introduction to his canine caregiver, Phelps couldn’t even go shopping at the local Walmart for fear he would get lost and not know which door to use to get out of the store. Now, with Sam at his side, Phelps feels more comfortable embarking on outings.

Related:
How Music Affects Memory in People With Alzheimer’s
Why Helping Other Caregivers Can Make You Happier
Poetry Slam: Art and Alzheimer’s Care Collide

Canine Caregivers Change The Lives of Alzheimer’s Sufferers originally appeared on AgingCare.com.

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Read more: Alzheimer's, Dogs, Health, Humor & Inspiration, Mental Wellness, Pets, Stress, , , , ,

By Anne-Marie Botek, AgingCare.com Editor

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AgingCare.com

AgingCare.com connects family caregivers and provides support, resources, expert advice and senior housing options for people caring for their elderly parents. AgingCare.com is a trusted resource that visitors rely on every day to find inspiration, make informed decisions, and ease the stress of caregiving.

75 comments

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12:58AM PDT on Jun 7, 2013

Thanks.

6:16AM PST on Feb 28, 2013

Thank you AgingCare, for Sharing this!

3:00AM PDT on Oct 8, 2012

Great post folk.

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9:34AM PDT on Oct 7, 2012

great article, thanks for sharing :)

6:48PM PDT on Oct 6, 2012

Thank you for sharing your story Rick

5:15AM PDT on Oct 6, 2012

Thank each and every one of you for the kind comments. Sam is a miracle and just gets better everyday he learns my routine. He is constantly picking up things, helping me in many ways.

Nine months ago I didn't know a thing about dementia service dogs, didn't even know they existed. Now, I think everyone who is in the early stages should at least check into these animals.

There are many placed in the United States which train them....

6:27PM PDT on Oct 5, 2012

Article is just more proof that "dog is man's best friend." This is a "win-win" relationship. Phelps is helped by Sam, and Sam has a good home and lots of love. Can't beat that, can we?

7:11PM PDT on Oct 4, 2012

:)

5:46PM PDT on Oct 4, 2012

animals are amazing, they just know what to do!

3:56PM PDT on Oct 4, 2012

so inspiring, thanks

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Disclaimer: The views expressed above are solely those of the author and may not reflect those of
Care2, Inc., its employees or advertisers.

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