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Inspiration on wheels: Disabled dogs visit rehab patients
Key Excerpts from Article on Website of MSNBC

MSNBC, September 6, 2011
Posted: September 13th, 2011

Cruising in their custom wheelchairs, Chili and Arlo are the center of attention wherever they go. But for patients at the Baylor Institute for Rehabilitation in Dallas, these two canine caregivers are also an inspiration. Many of the patients are new to wheelchairs, Linda Marler, the programs director [said]. When they see Chili and Arlo, they say, If those dogs can do it, so can I. Chili and Arlo are the only dogs with disabilities among the 90 specially trained therapy dogs that participate in Baylors Animal Assisted Therapy program. The canine volunteers make weekly visits to lift the spirits of patients who have suffered traumatic injuries or a stroke. We use the dogs to create more of a home atmosphere and also to get a response, Marler said. Shes found that animals will often elicit a reaction when every other method has failed. For head injury patients, a dog has been the first thing they respond to when emerging from a coma, Marler said. For others, being with a dog is what motivates them to speak or throw a ball. Or use a wheelchair. Marler says some of the patients who had been reluctant to use one are willing to give it a shot after spending time with Arlo and Chili.

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