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Karen B. London
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Dog Helps Elderly Man With Alzheimer’s
Speech returns in presence of dog

The man in this video has Alzhemier’s, and according to the daughter who posted it, he has lost almost all of his speech. However, when he is with the dog, he talks in a clear voice and makes perfect sense.

It’s not clear why his speech abilities return in the presence of the dog, but it’s well known that dogs are helpful to people with dementia. The benefits go beyond the usual health benefits provided by dogs such as lowered blood pressure and alleviating depression. In people with Alzheimer’s the presence of a dog lowers anxiety, decreases outbursts and increases social interactions.

No matter what the reason for this man’s behavior when with this dog, it is beautiful to watch. That is partly because we’re seeing a part of a man that was thought to be lost. It’s also because the healthy, powerful dog in the video is so calm and attentive around this elderly gentleman. I found myself absently saying, “Good dog, good dog,” while I watched.

I haven’t reacted so emotionally to a video since the 2014 Budweiser Super Bowl Commercial. Did it similarly affect you?

 

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Karen B. London, PhD, is a Bark columnist and a Certified Applied Animal Behaviorist specializing in the evaluation and treatment of serious behavior problems in the domestic dog.

 screen grab from My Dad With Our Dog

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