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      Panhandle Spirit: Dog Therapy for veterans

      Dog therapy is being used over at the VA hospital for our veterans and we were there to see how much of a difference it's making its the lives of our vets.

      Will Rogers is credited with say that "the best thing for the inside of a man is the outside of a horse." He should've included dogs in that truism. At least it's true over here at the V-A Hospital, on this day in the Alzheimers and Dimentia ward.

      Morgan and Maggie along with their sidekick Mister Darcy dutifully go from vet to vet, sitting on laps, crawling up beside and just standing there for a little T-L-C. And you can see the difference having a therpay dog around by the look on each face.

      Amy Kelley the Recreation Therapy assistant and veteran herself, says she's seen the difference these dogs make.

      "It's unbelievable. I've never seen anything work and make them smile like dogs. I can't even explain it. I try to book as much pet therapy as I can, because the smiles are worth every second of it."

      For Brenda Carrigan, it's a chance to share the love of their dogs and say the feelings stirred up are often times, nothing short of life altering.

      "When we come up here for a visit, it's therapy for the residents, it's therapy for the staff and for Bonnie and I as well and it's almost as good as going to church, yes.!"

      The dogs seem to get a little something out of it as well. Sure, they get to perform some tricks for treats as well, but they wander around offering up attention to who all seem willing and ready to share the moment in a break from their normal day.

      "Some of these men haven't smiled in years or petted a dog and I think it allows us to to forget 'Oh woe is me' for just a few minutes."

      One of those faces, Eldon Sipes, really enjoys having the dogs come by for a visit.

      "It's good, they're nice and i enjoy them.

      "What's your favorite part about their visit?" I asked.

      "Ohhhhh, all of it. They're just really good dogs."

      So these accutely trained canines will continue on their appointed rounds, as much a part of the medical staff for what they bring to the pateints. And If laughter is the best medicine and dog's are man's best friends, then it just works out that dogs are also part of the treatment for what ails you.